Croatia has removed border restrictions with Serbia

  • 26/09/2015
Migrants wait to cross the border from Serbia into Croatia near the village Croatia (Reuters)
Migrants wait to cross the border from Serbia into Croatia near the village Croatia (Reuters)

Croatia has bowed to pressure from the European Commission and removed its border restrictions with Serbia, which had been introduced in the wake of the ongoing migrant crisis.

"All cars, regardless of their registration plates ... can now enter Croatia," Interior Minister Ranko Ostojic said on the government's Twitter account on Friday.

The announcement came after the European Commission "urgently sought clarifications" from Croatia over the restrictions, which escalated into the worst row between the two Balkan neighbours since they fought each other in the 1990s.

Nearly 60,000 migrants fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa have entered Croatia in recent days from Serbia, official figures showed on Friday.

The influx started after Hungary sealed its border with Serbia earlier this month.

Croatia, moving most of the new arrivals on buses and trains to Hungary, has said repeatedly it could not cope with such a large influx.

The EU member told Serbia to start re-directing the refugees and migrants towards Hungary and Romania, halting border traffic to try to put pressure on Belgrade.

On Friday, an interior ministry statement confirmed Ostojic's statement, saying traffic could now flow "without restrictions" at the key Bajakovo-Batrovci crossing, the last to remained open both to trucks and cars after the dispute flared up last week, as well as at nearby Tovarnik.

The other six crossings with Serbia, closed soon after the migrants started to arrive in Croatia 10 days ago, remain closed.

Earlier on Friday Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic had said Croatia would lift the restrictions but warned he might bring them back in future.