Merkel: Danger of war in Balkans if borders are closed
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned of "the danger of armed conflicts in the Balkans" in the event Germany closes its border with Austria.Source: Beta
There are already tensions in the Western Balkan countries, said Merkel, and added she "did not want military conflicts to occur there."
Merkel made the comments, reported in German media, on Monday during a gathering of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Darmstadt.
The Beta agency is reporting that many experts have warned that if Germany - as the main destination for refugees, most of whom are fleeing the war in Syria - closes its border with Austria, "the Balkan countries through which the highest number of migrants and refugees are transiting will do the same."
The EU announced in late October that reception capacity would be increased by 100,000 places in Greece and the Balkans in order to rein in the biggest migrant crisis so far, while there have been "tensions" over the past months between Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, and Hungary.
Merkel said she "does not want to be negative, but warned that the situation could quickly deteriorate."
The refugee issue is also divisive in Germany, where the ruling coalition of conservatives and Social Democrats failed to reach an agreement on Sunday, since the conservatives from the Bavarian CSU demanded that Germany in 2015 accepts less than the expected 800,000 to a million refugees.
A new round of negotiations has been announced for Thursday. One of the main topics will be the establishment of so-called transit zones on the German-Austrian border in order to expedite the consideration of applications, and expelling those rejected. The conservatives are in favor of this, but the SPD rejects the idea.