Migrants walk back from the Turkey-Greece border to the city centre of Edirne, Turkey, 3 March 2020 | Photo: EPA/ERDEM SAHIN
Migrants walk back from the Turkey-Greece border to the city centre of Edirne, Turkey, 3 March 2020 | Photo: EPA/ERDEM SAHIN

Bosnia-Herzegovina announced that it may send soldiers to its borders to block a new influx of migrants into the country following the crisis between Turkey and Greece. Meanwhile, Serbia said it will continue to express solidarity with migrants but will also defend its borders. Croatia emphasized it will not tolerate illegal crossings.

Bosnian Security Minister Fahrudin Radoncic said Bosnia-Herzegovina is not ready to accommodate an expected wave of 10,000 migrants daily from the Middle East. There is no serious reason not to deploy soldiers to the borders, he added, according to the website Klix.ba. Radoncic referred to similar announcements by Serbia and Croatia.

Radoncic said Bosnia is already having difficulty managing the thousands of migrants already in the country. He said Bosnia could utilize its armed forces also in logistics, in terms of tents, water tanks, and camp bathrooms, but "in the event of a negative scenario for Bosnia, the tripartite presidency should have a concordant position on the fact that armed forces must be deployed on the borders." This however is something that Bosnian Serbs are opposed to. 

Serbia supportive but ready to defend borders 

Meanwhile, Serbia said it will continue to have a humanitarian approach and to show solidarity with migrants and refugees. But if necessary, the country has the means and resources to defend its borders to ensure the security of the country and its citizens. 

Speaking at a press conference in Belgrade, President Aleksandar Vucic said Serbia will not become a parking lot for migrants entering Europe. "If necessary, we will defend our borders and we will do so efficiently," Vucic said. "This time I won't wait for the EU's response, but we will behave absolutely and exclusively in the interests of our security," he said, adding that the Serbian people can rest assured that the country has the means to do so. 

During the dramatic migrant crisis of 2015-2016, more than a million refugees crossed Serbia, marching along the Balkan route towards countries in western Europe. 

On Tuesday, Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said there are currently about 6,000 migrants in the country. 

Croatia says illegal crossings won't be tolerated 

Croatian Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic, speaking at the end of the extraordinary meeting of EU interior ministers in Brussels, said, "We are firm and we back Greece and illegal crossings will not be tolerated."

"We have agreed upon a series of concrete measures with a significant financial package, the activation of the Civil Protection Mechanism, and also measures on Frontex," Bozinovic said. 

In North Macedonia, President Stevo Pendarovski said on March 4 that the country had not seen an increase in migrant arrivals on its southern border with Greece.Pendarovski appealed against the spread of fake news on alleged migrant "invasions" due to the crisis at the Turkey-Greece border. He said, however, that the country is prepared to face a possible increase in migrant arrivals.

More articles