Refugees stranded in the Balkans

After Hungary closed off its southern border, thousands of refugees are now trying to move northwards through Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. But these countries are also closing their borders, leaving many refugees stranded on the Balkan route. Some commentators fear the backlog will result in violence. Others criticise that Germany's rhetoric of hospitality is not helping to solve the crisis.

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Die Welt (DE) /

Dangerous backlog in the Balkans

The inaction of the governments of the EU member states is to blame for the fact that the situation on the Balkan route threatens to get completely out of control, the conservative daily Die Welt comments: "It doesn't take complex calculations to figure out that a dangerous backlog is building up there. The danger lies in the fact that the desperation and anger of the people there could soon turn into violence. … It was predictable that the countries of south-eastern Europe would raise the white flag at some point. It was predictable that the onslaught of refugees would put the solidarity of the poorer EU states to the test. Yet despite this the EU knowingly allowed itself to slide into this situation without agreeing on a common strategy in time to prevent it. A unilateral 'We can do it' is just as unhelpful as the fences of the Eastern Europeans who have no intention of backing Merkel's promise. But there is no alternative to distribution quotas and measures to secure the external borders."

Jutarnji list (HR) /

Croatia overwhelmed by flood of refugees

It's only a matter of time before new fences are erected in Eastern Europe, the liberal daily Jutarnji list believes: "Panic is the worst thing that can happen to those fleeing to Croatia. But the situation is growing worse by the day. There are far more people on the Serbian-Croatian border than Slovenia is willing to take in, and to judge by the current situation it looks like that is not about to change. In such circumstances only two options are open: either Germany, Sweden and Austria guarantee that they are willing to take in all the refugees, or Croatia will soon have to close its border with Serbia. That would be the least satisfactory solution, but there will be no other option if the country wants to avoid becoming a huge reception centre for which we have neither the material nor the psychological resources."

Delo (SI) /

EU like the Wild West

The fact that the refugees are coming up against borders preventing their journey to the West is outrageous, the centre-left daily Delo comments: "Those who are fleeing the violence of their home countries thought they could reach the free West, the promised land where milk and honey flow. But instead they arrived in the Wild West where local sheriffs are putting up new fences and re-erecting ones that had been torn down without any regard for the EU's treaties. Meanwhile those who were elected and sent to Brussels to lead the Union are acting as if everything was as it should be. … The refugee crisis has also shown that there are no great statesmen these days who can sit down together and work out a long-term strategy for dealing with the refugees."

Népszabadság (HU) /

New border fence hurts Hungary's reputation

Hungary has further tarnished its image by closing its border to Croatia with razor wire on the weekend, the left-liberal daily Népszabadság criticises: "Western Europe in particular takes a poor view of our sealing ourselves off. People there have come to see that this is not a passing mood but a way of viewing the world that does not include the willingness to cooperate. As a result we have not only dealt a blow to our reputation, we have also hamstrung ourselves. In future our country will be exactly what the Norwegian TV commentator said it was when the pairings for the Uefa football Championships in France were decided: 'Hungary? Terrific. A pushover!'"