Slovenia to demand EU visas on borders

Posted at 12:20 PM, Mar 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-08 13:26:46-05

IDOMENI, Greece (AP) — Serbia's Interior Ministry says Slovenia will demand valid EU visas at its borders as of midnight Tuesday, effectively closing the main Balkan migration route toward western Europe.

The ministry says Serbia was informed of the new restrictions by Slovenia and will act accordingly and close its borders with Macedonia and Bulgaria for refugees and other migrants who don't have valid visas.

It says "Serbia cannot allow itself to become a collective center for refugees."

The measure means that thousands of migrants currently stranded in Greece on the border with Macedonia will not be allowed to proceed north toward Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Austria.

Earlier Tuesday, Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar said an EU summit — dealing with the surge of migrants and refugees over the so-called western Balkans route — has sent "a very clear message to all traffickers and all irregular migrants that this route no longer exists, it is closed."

Cerar said "today or tomorrow" Slovenia will start allowing passage only to those migrants with documents required by members of the Schengen passport-free travel zone.