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Countries Tussle as Europe's Migrant Crisis Deepens

Thousands of migrants sought their way through a chaotic maze of rumor and proliferating border controls in the western Balkans on Saturday.

In the latest chapter in the EU's escalating refugee crisis, Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia tussled over how to cope with a wave of refugees desperate to reach northern Europe.

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Croatians Vote in Local Polls Ahead of EU Entry

Croatians cast ballots on Sunday for municipal officials in a vote seen as a test for the center-left government and its austerity policies, six weeks ahead of the former Yugoslav republic's EU entry.

The latest surveys showed that the popularity of Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic's government, led by his Social Democrats (SDP), has hit the lowest point since it won late 2011 elections.

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Croatians Decide on EU Membership in Key Referendum

Croatians went to the polls Sunday in a nationwide referendum on EU membership, a vote that political leaders see as key for the future of the Balkan country 20 years after independence.

Surveys show that some 60 percent of Croatians back entry into the European Union, paving the way for the former Yugoslav republic to formally join the bloc in 2013.

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Croatia Charges Five Ex-Soldiers over Wartime Torture

Croatia on Tuesday charged five former members of the military with torturing Serb prisoners of war at the start of the conflict that led to the break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

The five men -- a commander and his four subordinates -- were charged with "abusing 34 persons by inflicting major suffering and injuries", a statement by Zagreb county prosecutors said.

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U.N. War Crimes Court Jails ex-Yugoslav Army Chief for 27 Years

A U.N. court Tuesday sentenced ex-Yugoslav army chief Momcilo Perisic to 27 years in jail for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including for his role in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

"For these crimes the chamber by majority sentences you to a single term of 27 years in prison," Judge Bakone Moloto told Perisic, the highest ranking member of the former Yugoslav army, in a hearing before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the Hague (ICTY).

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East European Borrowers Suffer as Swiss Franc Rises

A soaring Swiss franc is a threat to Eastern European economies as households struggle to repay the now much costlier loans they took out in the currency in better times, analysts warn.

Eastern Europeans rushed to take out loans in Swiss francs and other foreign currencies in 2004-2005 as interest rates were much lower than what they would have had to pay on domestic borrowings -- now that has all changed.

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Pope Backs Croatia's EU Bid upon Arrival in Zagreb

Pope Benedict XVI gave strong backing to Croatia's bid to join the European Union as he arrived in the Balkan nation Saturday, but said he understands those who fear the EU's "overly strong centralized bureaucracy."

The pontiff also expressed the Vatican's long-running concern that Europe needs to be reminded of its Christian roots.

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