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Slovenia is bracing for a refugee influx after Hungary shut its border with Croatia to try to stem the numbers arriving en route to Western Europe.

Refugees have already begun to arrive in Slovenia by bus from Croatia.

Hungary closed its Croatia frontier on October 16 and now says it will reintroduce controls on its Slovenia border.

Many of the refugees aim to continue north to Austria and Germany.

Nearly 600,000 refugees have reached the EU by sea so far this year, many travelling from Turkey to Greece.

However, more than 3,000 have perished trying to cross the Mediterranean. Many refugees are Syrians fleeing the civil conflict there.Hungary border fence

Hungary said it shut the border with Croatia after EU leaders failed to agree its plan to send a force to prevent migrants reaching Greece.

The closure of Hungary’s border with Croatia comes just a month after it shut its frontier with Serbia, which was another transit route to Western Europe.

Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said border controls with Slovenia would be temporarily reinstated to safeguard Hungary from a “mass wave of unidentified, uncontrolled refugees”.

Hungary and Slovenia are both part of the passport-free Schengen zone, but Croatia is not.

Until October 16, 5,000 to 8,000 people were being allowed across Hungary every day, without registration, bound for Austria.

There are fears in Slovenia, a nation of some two million people, that the latest border closure will channel many more migrants through the country.

Extra police had been deployed to the border with Croatia, Slovene Interior Minister Vesna Gjorkos Znidar said.

However, Slovenia will keep accepting refugees as long as Austria and Germany’s borders remain open, she said.

Slovenia’s national security council is due to meet on October 17.

All passenger rail transport from Croatia has already been stopped.

Those arriving by road will be transferred to a migrant centre near the Austrian border after a registration procedure, AP quoted police spokeswoman Suzana Raus as saying.

The past month has seen some 3,000 refugees pass through Slovenia, Reuters news agency reported. Slovenia has said it was in a position to accommodate up to 8,000 refugees per day.

Slovenians are voting today in a presidential run-off following days of protests over budget cuts and alleged government corruption.

The vote pits incumbent Danilo Turk against former PM Borut Pahor, who is favored to win by opinion polls.

On Friday, a number of people were injured as protesters clashed with police in the capital Ljubljana.

Slovenia is facing one of the deepest recessions among the 17 countries in the eurozone.

The country’s economy has shrunk more than 8% since 2009.

Thirty-three people were charged with public order offences after the trouble in Ljubljana, police said.

Slovenian vote pits incumbent Danilo Turk against former PM Borut Pahor, who is favored to win by opinion polls

Slovenian vote pits incumbent Danilo Turk against former PM Borut Pahor, who is favored to win by opinion polls

A protest that attracted thousands of people earlier in the week in the second city, Maribor, also turned violent.

Polls across Slovenia are due to open at 07:00 local time and close at 19:00 with first results expected within hours.

Borut Pahor won the first round of the election, and recent opinion polls suggest the ex-PM will be triumphant again on Sunday.

Commenting on the recent protests in the country, Borut Pahor told the Associated Press that the demonstrations “signal a lack of confidence” in government institutions.

Many protesters are angry at what they describe as harsh austerity measures being implemented by the current centre-right government.

They also accuse the government of corruption – a claim denied by the authorities.

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