Sunday , 17 December 2017
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Croatia and Serbia re-open border after dispute over refugees
Queues at the Serbian-Croatian border have stretched to up to 12 km

Croatia and Serbia re-open border after dispute over refugees

Croatia and Serbia have re-opened their border after a dispute between the two over how to deal with the refugees trying to enter Croatia resulted in the two countries closing their borders to each other’s goods, stranding lorries and disturbing the supply chain.

After Croatia closed seven of its eight road border crossings to all trucks carrying goods that are not perishable, Serbia retaliated by banning Croatian-registered trucks and all goods made in Croatia causing queues that stretched to 12 km long . Angry truck drivers then blockaded the remaining open border crossing.

On September 24, Croatia escalated the situation by refusing entry to all Serbian vehicles at the Bajakovo and Tovarnik border crossings, although reportedly Serbian vehicles can still enter Croatia if they pass through Bosnia-Herzegovina.

On September 25, first Croatia and then Serbia re-opened the border to all traffic.

As a landlocked nation, Serbia relies for much of its overseas trade on Croatian and Slovenian container terminals like the Adriatic Gate Container Terminal (AGCT) and Luka Koper.

Before the border was re-opened, Iva Roman, commercial co-coordinator of AGCT told CM: “We are certainly concerned about the recent developments, but uncertainty exists pertaining to the actual situation on the ground. Free movement of goods across borders is of paramount importance to the success of AGCT.”

Around 50% of AGCT’s cargo is from/to countries outside of Croatia, like Serbia, Hungary, Austria and Slovenia.

Thousands of refugees have been entering Croatia, an EU member state, from Serbia, which is outside of the EU. Croatia wants Serbia to direct refugees to neighbouring EU states like Hungary or Romania instead of bussing them to the Croatian border.