Serbia, Croatia step up border dispute

  • 25/09/2015

Croatia and Serbia have escalated a border dispute triggered by Europe's migrant crisis, with each side further restricting cross-border traffic.

Belgrade closed the main Bajakovo-Batrovci crossing at midnight to all trucks with Croatian plates or those transporting goods made in Croatia, Tanjug news agency reported, quoting Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic who spoke during a visit to the border point.

In retaliation, Croatia closed the crossing to cars with Serbian plates, Tanjug reported.

Bajakovo-Batrovci is the last of eight crossing points that had remained open both to trucks and cars after the dispute flared last week.

Croatia closed the seven others in a bid to slow the flow of migrants from Serbian territory.

On Monday (local time), Croatia blocked trucks coming from Serbia at Bajakovo-Batrovici in a further attempt to pressure Belgrade to redirect the migrant flow towards Hungary and Romania.

On Tuesday, it relented somewhat, letting in trucks with perishable goods – a move that prompted a protest blockade by other freight drivers.

According to Croatia's national traffic organisation, the nearby Tovarnik-Sid border crossing remains open for cars.

More than 44,000 refugees fleeing conflicts and poverty in their countries in Middle East and Africa entered the Balkan country from Serbia over a week, with a record 9000 on Tuesday alone.