Starting on midnight the Serbian police are preventing Croatian goods and cargo vehicles from entering Serbia, Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic announced
This applies to trucks, trains, and other vehicles, even if they are driven by a person from a third country.
Stefanovic stressed that this came as the neighboring country has not responded to requests to open its border to trucks crossing into its territory from Serbia – a ban that has been in place since the weekend – and accused Zagreb “of behaving irresponsibly.”
Stefanovic stated that Croatia was damaging interests of businesspeople in both countries with its “economic aggression,” and added:
“Serbia has been forced to take these measures. We are not satisfied or happy, we are only protecting our country.”
The minister, who spoke to reporters at the Batrovci border crossing shortly after midnight, said that “passenger traffic will carry on unimpeded.”
“These are measures that are quite sufficient to (respond) to the economic aggression against our country. This can all be withdraw in five or ten minutes, if the border is opened (by Croatia). If not, there will be other measures, you will be informed,” said Stefanovic.
Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic reacted by saying that “this kind of manipulation can pass in Belgrade, but not in Zagreb and Brussels,” adding his country “has an answer.”
“I am sorry about this, I am one of the greater friends of Serbs in Croatia, and also of Serbians, which is something else. Yesterday Vucic said he will do all he can and he did nothing,” Milanovic said.
Late last night Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic told B92 that was in agreement with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini who said the closing of Croatia’s border was not a solution and called on Belgrade and Zagreb to approach the solving of the migrant crisis together.
Milanovic said on Wednesday that a decision to open border crossings will be made “based on the number of migrants (from third countries) trying to enter Croatia.”
“Perhaps I’ll open the border soon, and then I’ll close it again if 8,000 or 10,000 people cross,” he said.
Serbian Minister of Trade Rasim Ljajic told B92 on Wednesday that “even if Serbia introduced countermeasures, the situation must be solved at the table and as soon as possible, because the cost is growing for both sides by the day.”
Also yesterday, the Croatian Chamber of Economy asked the country’s government to open the border “in order to prevent a catastrophic outcome for the Croatian economy, which is already on its knees.”