The worst migrant crisis since World War II has exposed such bitter divisions in Europe that it was only a matter of time until someone invoked the Nazis.
That reference came from a Serbian Foreign Ministry incensed over Croatia’s decision to ban Serbs and their cars from entering the country:
In their discriminatory character, they can only be compared with measures taken in the past, during the fascist Independent Croatia.
That’s a reference to the Nazi-backed Ustaše regime of Ante Pavelic, whose racist policies included the persecution of Serbs.
The dispute stems from the flow of migrants to the EU. Croatia is a member of the bloc; Serbia is not. When their northern neighbor Hungary, also an EU member, closed its border to the flow, some 50,000 asylum-seekers crossed from Serbia into Croatia.
Croatia says it can’t cope with that many migrants, and in order to pressure Serbia into sending some of them to Romania and Hungary it closed nearly all of its border crossings with Serbia and then halted cargo traffic from its neighbor. That led to further tit-for-tat steps and the Nazi analogy.
The retaliatory measures by the two former Yugoslav states threaten to undermine whatever goodwill was built up after the bitter civil wars that accompanied the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. But they also make increasingly clear that a resolution of the migrant crisis is unlikely anytime soon.