news 03 Jul 13

EU Customs Problems Jam Croatia-Serbia Border

Hundreds of trucks got stuck in a 15-kilometre tailback at the Serbia-Croatia border crossing at Bajakovo because the Croatian authorities hadn’t prepared properly for EU customs procedures.

Boris Pavelic

The huge traffic jam developed on the Serbian side of the Bajakovo border crossing on Tuesday afternoon, angering truck drivers who feared that they would not get to their destinations on time.

Many of the trucks were carrying food, which could spoil in hot temperatures, and many drivers had not prepared for the long wait and so lacked food and drinking water.

The Croatian finance ministry admitted on Tuesday that "occassional traffic deadlocks can be expected at the border crossings because all border authorities must adjust to the new rules which started with Croatia’s EU membership".

"There was a widespread information campaign about the new procedures, but it's obvious that all the information didn't reach all participants in the process, or it was misinterpreted," the ministry said.

The Croatian customs office said it expected the traffic situation at the border would return to normal "very soon".

Analysts told media that traffic could get back to normal in two or three days.

One of the drivers interviewed by Croatian media said he would "be satisifed if this ends by Friday".

There were no major slowdowns at border crossings with other countries, the Croatian automobile club said.

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