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Border controls at Slovenia-Hungary frontier

October 17, 2015

Hungary has announced that it has reactivated border controls at its Slovenian frontier. The move follows Budapest's decision to close its border with Croatia, forcing migrants to divert their route through Slovenia.

Hungarian security forces at the Croatian border
Hungarian security forces at the Croatian borderImage: Getty Images/AFP/E. Barukcic

Budapest on Saturday announced that Hungary reinstated border controls on its frontier with fellow Schengen-member Slovenia.

The decision follows Hungary's closure of its border with EU member state Croatia, forcing asylum seekers and migrants to divert their route through Slovenia.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told the state-owned news agency MTI that the controls were put in place after the government received reports that migrants were being transported to its border with Slovenia.

Szijjarto said the move was "carried out within the framework of the Schengen agreement," which allows passport-free travel between 26 European countries.

Hundreds of migrants are crossing the Aegean Sea daily to enter the EU via Greece
Hundreds of migrants are crossing the Aegean Sea daily to enter the EU via GreeceImage: picture alliance/NurPhoto/A. Masiello

Open borders

Meanwhile, at least five buses filled with migrants arrived at the Slovenia-Croatia border as authorities coped with the reroute, according to Slovenian police spokeswoman Suzana Raus.

The migrants will be registered in Slovenia, after which they will be transported to a migrant center near the country's border with Austria. Slovenian police said they were coordinating their efforts with Croatian authorities.

Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic said Friday that it would leave its borders open with Serbia as long as Germany and Slovenia continued to accept migrants, according to AFP news agency

"Slovenia will not close its border unless Germany closes its border, in that case Croatia will have to do the same…There is no alternative," Pusic told state broadcaster HRT.

Fleeing war and poverty

More than half a million asylum seekers and migrants have fled war-torn countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and entered the EU in 2015, according to figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Many of them cross into the EU in Italy or Greece as they make their way to Germany and Sweden, preferred countries for asylum seekers.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door policy for refugees has come under increased scrutiny by conservative allies, who believe the EU's largest economy cannot cope with the influx of refugees.

ls/rc (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)