Despite Harsh Weather, Refugees Continue to Pass Through Croatia

By 5 January 2016

The latest from the migrant crisis in Croatia.

Despite very low temperatures and snow, refugees have continued to arrive in the temporary reception centre in Slavonski Brod, which is usually one of the coldest cities in Croatia. On average, two to three trains with about a thousand refugees each arrive to the centre every day. Due to the extreme cold, migrants are exhausted and need warm clothes and refreshments. They stay in heated tents for two to three hours, and then they continue by train towards Slovenia and Western Europe. From midnight to 9 am on Tuesday, 862 refugees have entered Croatia. Since the beginning of the migrant crisis, 569,525 migrants and refugees have passed through Croatia, reports Vecernji List and Index.hr on January 5, 2016.

Italy could soon establish police controls on the border with Slovenia if there is an increase in a flow of refugees who enter Italy from Slovenia. After arriving in Italy, refugees often apply for asylum, reported the Slovenian media citing an article published in the Milan daily Corriere della Sera.

The newspaper, which refers to unnamed sources in the Italian Ministry of the Interior, states that Italy has already prepared a plan for the reintroduction of border controls which would enable the Italian border police to control documents of all people who cross the Slovenian-Italian border, including passengers on international trains.

Such "intervention plan" has reportedly already been presented to the Interior Minister Angelino Alfano and would be activated if there is a further increase in the number of migrants and refugees who cross from Slovenia to Italy. For now, there are between 300 to 400 such refugees a week. According to the Slovenian media, one of the reasons why Italy is preparing to implement this decisions is the fact that Denmark and Sweden have in recent days also introduced stricter controls for entry of migrants and refugees.

Corriere della Sera reports that Italian officials fear that, in the event of the closure of the countries of Northern and Central Europe for migrants, Italy would "pay a high price" in the refugee crisis that will continue, and that the EU plan about quotas for the relocation of refugees which are already at the "hot spot" centres in Italy and Greece will never be implemented.

It is expected that the spring and better weather conditions will bring about a new big wave of refugees. About a million people could start moving towards the EU this year, which has also been confirmed by Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council. "While the influx of refugees and migrants will slow down during the winter due to bad weather, we must be ready for even greater wave in spring", Tusk said. According to official statistics, in Turkey there are about two and a half million Syrian refugees. A large number of them are working and saving money for the trip to Europe, and are just waiting for favourable weather conditions.