September 18, 2015
Refugee Crisis Worsens As Croatia And Slovenia Put Up Barriers On Their Borders

The refugee crisis is getting worse, as Croatia and Slovenia follow Hungary's example. The two countries have decided to put up fencing to prevent asylum seekers crossing their borders. Croatia says that seven of its eight borders with Serbia have been blocked.

Countries are taking drastic measures, believing it will curb the number of migrants crossing into western parts of Europe. However, the countries have been condemned by German and Austrian officials, who say that it will make matters worse. Hungary argues that refugees should claim asylum in Serbia, because it is a safe country. The official rules are that asylum seekers should seek refuge in the first safe country.

Many want to get to more affluent parts of Europe. A number of Syrian refugees say that they want to get to Germany because they have been welcomed. However, Germany has said that the whole of Europe needs to work together and take some of the hundreds of thousands of people trying to find safer lands.

According to The Independent, Croatia had no choice but to put up the barriers on the borders. Officials state that people have broken through police lines and entered rural villages due to Hungary's measures. Those trying to get to Slovenia from Croatia by train were stopped by police, and now all rail traffic between the two countries has been stopped, causing problems for local people. Only the Bajakovo crossing between Croatia and Serbia remains, which is on the Belgrade-Zagreb highway and needed for traffic.

The Economist reports that Germany has done a U-turn after initially opening its borders freely for all asylum seekers to cross. Controls have been reimposed, as a way to handle the large influx that the country is starting to struggle with. It is expected that Slovakia, Holland and Austria will also follow suit. The controls are legal under Europe's Schengen agreement, which allows free travel throughout the majority of the EU, and they will only be temporary to handle the refugee crisis.

"The measure is valid until further notice."
Croatia is not currently part of the Schengen agreement, which means that it already has the border controls in place. The barriers are an extra measure. A number of refugees are making their way to Romania, which is also not part of the Schengen agreement. Hungary is expected to extend its barrier so it blocks access from Romania, as well as from Serbia.

Despite facing opposition from other countries, Hungary has kept its barriers at its borders. Police have permission to arrest anyone entering the country and refugees have tear gas being fired at them. The use of the tear gas has reportedly injured a number of asylum seekers and police officers, as the refugee crisis worsens and people are trapped in Serbia.

[Photo by Gohkan Sahin/Getty Images]