Scrums break out along Croatia border as migrants pour in

“On this occasion, the presidency wants the Council to adopt a decision on a provisional mechanism for the relocation of 120,000 persons in need of global protection from member states exposed to massive migratory flows”, the Luxembourg government said.


After bus trips through Serbia, many migrants crossed fields on foot to enter Croatia, where dozens of police directed them to trains and buses heading to refugee centres.

That diverted many migrants to Croatia, which on Thursday responded to the influx by closing seven of its eight border crossings with Serbia.

On Thursday, Germany’s Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel appealed for other European countries to help shoulder the burden.

The scene at Horgoš, on the Serbo-Hungarian border, has nearly returned to normal, less than a day after frustrated refugees clashed with Hungarian police.

On Thursday, citing “personal reasons”, Manfred Schmidt, president of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, resigned under pressure from representatives of all 16 German federal states, which accused him of grossly underestimating the number of expected migrants and, in turn, failing to provide appropriate resources for their arrival.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday said he was “shocked” by Hungary’s actions, saying people “fleeing war and persecution…must be treated with human dignity”.

But the impasse at that entry point into the European Union won’t stop the flow of migrants attempting their arduous journeys, said Eugenio Ambrosi, regional director of the worldwide Organization for Migration.

Police used tear gas, batons and water cannons on those who tried to push open a border gate on Wednesday.

The problem of admitting refugees could “only be resolved in a pan-European” way, stressed Merkel, whose country expects to take in up to one million asylum-seekers this year. At the border, some young men took their anger out by hurling rocks and bottles at the police. It makes those 26 member countries subject to the weakest link, the country with porous borders, in this case Hungary.

At least two migrants were also injured, Hungarian and Serbian officials said.

Photos circulated in social media showed the crowd included children and the elderly, and Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has decried the Hungarian response as “brutal”.

“The majority of people arriving in Europe are Syrians”, Mr Avramopoulos said at a news conference alongside Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto in Budapest.

He cited police figures showing a drop in illegal border crossings from 9,380 on Monday to only 366 on Tuesday and 277 on Wednesday, the first day after the border closure.

In Paris, meanwhile, French authorities evacuated more than 500 Syrian and other migrants from tent camps and moved them into special housing as the country steps up its efforts to deal with Europe’s migrant wave.


If they get through the minefields, refugees in Croatia will still have a long way to go before they reach Austria or Germany. The next move is for EU interior ministers to approve the plan, provided they can change the position of eastern European nations that are against it.