Refugees seek new routes into Europe as Hungary seals borders

First refugees arrive near Croatian border

The first refugees have arrived near the Croatian frontier, carving out a new route through Europe after Hungary sealed its borders.

The development came as German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday called for a special EU refugee summit, urging unity in the European response to the crisis. 

A group of 30-40 mostly Syrian or Afghan nationals arrived at the Serbian town of Sid near the Croatian border early in the morning on Wednesday.

They had travelled by bus from the Macedonian border at Presevo, 500km to the south.

The new route takes the refugees to Croatia, from where they will have to travel through Slovenia to get to northern Europe.

Until this week, the vast majority of refugees travelled up from Greece, through Macedonia and Serbia into Hungary.

But Hungary sealed its southern border Monday as part of a wider crackdown on refugees entering the country.

Earlier on Tuesday, Hungary declared a state of emergency and shut its border with Serbia leaving many desperate refugees stranded at the border.

Almost 10,000 people have also been detained for illegally crossing the border from Serbia, police said.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has indicated that asylum requests from refugees trying to enter Hungary from Serbia will be rejected because Serbia is a safe country where refugees do not risk war or persecution.