Podgorica: Montenegro is preparing for the likely influx of migrants from Syria and beyond as they carve out a new path on their journey to Western Europe, the government said Friday.
"With the latest developments at Hungary`s border (with Croatia) and the pressure on Macedonia and Serbia, it is possible that many refugees will choose to go through ... Montenegro," the government said in a statement.
The government of the tiny Balkans country has therefore been making provisions for its expected role in Europe`s worst migrant crisis since World War II.
"Taking into account that 5,000 migrants are arriving in the Western Balkans on daily basis, Montenegro is preparing capacities to take in some 2,000," the government said in its statement.
From Montenegro, the migrants fleeing conflicts and poverty in the Middle East and Africa, would then head towards the country`s western neighbours Bosnia and Croatia, said Zeljko Sofranac, head of the national refugee agency.
"At one moment or another, the wave of migrants will no longer bypass Montenegro," he said.
Montenegro can be accessed from Albania, Serbia and Kosovo through mountains where the winters are harsh.
The country`s border with Croatia is only 22-kilometres (14 miles) long, also mountainous and not easy to cross.
European Union member Croatia has had to handle a massive influx of refugees entering from across its eastern border over the past 10 days.
That route became popular with the desperate migrants after fellow EU member Hungary sealed off its border with Serbia.
Regional authorities in the southern Croatian town of Dubrovnik, on the Adriatic Coast, said they were also preparing for the expected new migrant route and said the were ready to handle some 3,000-5,000 refugees daily.
"We have information from several sources that migrants may choose the `southern path` depending on weather conditions and if the complicated situation on the border with Hungary, and at border between Croatia and Serbia continues," local official Goran Cvjetinovic was quoted as saying by HINA state-run news agency