Croatia-Serbia Tensions Rise amid Refugee/Migrant Crisis

Ranko Ostojic2, Minister of InteriorLPJ Issue 150, 28 September 2015

On 25 September, the government lifted the blockade on its border with Serbia, after week-long tensions that arose over the refugee/migrant crisis. Earlier in the day, EU Commissioner for Enlargement, Johannes Hahn, invited Croatia to lift the border blockade, saying the move had no alternative. PM Zoran Milanovic (SDP) warned that his administration was ready to block the border again “within a minute” unless Serbia complied with its demand.

In retrospect, suspecting that Serbia was sending all refugees to Croatia in agreement with Hungary, the government decided to block the Bajakovo border crossing to prevent Serbian cargo trucks from entering the country. In response to these measures, the Serbian government protested on 24 September by banning all imports from Croatia, followed by Croatia banning all Serbian-registered vehicles from crossing over to Croatia. The government decision to cut Serbia off from many of its main trading partners across Europe had cost each country an estimated €1 million a day.

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