EU's 'foreign fighter' traffic checks cause chaos at border

Enhanced checks at the EU's external borders, purportedly to halt suspected Islamic fighters from Iraq and Syria, led to long queues and traffic chaos Friday at Croatia`s border with Slovenia.

AFP| Last Updated: Apr 14, 2017, 21:18 PM IST

Zagreb: Enhanced checks at the EU's external borders, purportedly to halt suspected Islamic fighters from Iraq and Syria, led to long queues and traffic chaos Friday at Croatia`s border with Slovenia.

Especially high numbers of vehicles at the start of Easter`s long weekend saw angry passengers waiting for hours as cars stretched back several kilometres at the main Bregana border crossing, according to an AFP photographer.

Cars and buses were waiting up to five hours to leave Slovenia, in the passport-free Schengen area, and enter Croatia, according to the national motoring club (HAK).

Meanwhile passengers crossing from Croatia -- part of the European Union but not Schengen -- were stuck for more than three hours.
Croatia and Slovenia share 670 kilometres (420 miles) of a EU external border.

The two countries lie on the so-Balkans route used by hundreds of thousands of migrants travelling to western and northern Europe which was shut in March last year.

The EU said the systematic checks at Schengen borders were designed to identify foreign fighters returning from Iraq and Syria. Traffic problems started only hours after the controls were introduced earlier this month.

The chaos frustrated many holidaymakers from Austria, Germany and Switzerland who spent hours in queues waiting to head to southern Europe for the Easter or spring holiday break.

Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia on Friday boosted security measures to prevent terror acts, notably at places of worship over Easter, officials said.