New migrant routes emerge on Balkans: Austrian Defense Minister

Austrian Defense Minister Hans Peter Doskozil | wikimedia

New Migrant routes are emerging on the Balkans according to information obtained by the Austrian Defense Ministry. According to the German daily “Die Welt”, Austrian Defense Minister Hans Peter Doskozil stated “We have information that new routes have started to emerge lately on the Balkans,” adding that “this has occurred after Hungary and Macedonia significantly enhanced measures for protection of EU’s outer borders.”

According to the Minister, many refugees are attempting to reach Europe’s north through Slovakia, choosing the route through Romania and Bulgaria.

The closure of the Balkans humanitarian corridor has reduced migration numbers; it has forced many people to seek more dangerous routes to northern Europe. Hence, Europe continues to put different types of pressure to make sure the Syrian refugees do not take Europe as its new home and make new comers think twice before carrying out the step. This also comes at a time when Europe tries to create an atmosphere for an international resolution to see light.

Moreover, Doskozil noted that it is crucial to create centers in African countries such as Mali or Niger, where asylum applications for European countries would be reviewed, adding that such centers coule be guarded by EU armies in coordination with the United Nations.

According to the Minister, around 20,000 new immigrants arrived in Austria in 2017, out of which 12,000 applied for asylum.

In 2016, sources noted that, migrants who were stranded in Greece have been crossing on foot into Macedonia as parts of the border are not fenced off. In Bulgaria, overland route to Serbia via Bulgaria has become popular since the crackdown on sea crossings from Turkey surged. Croatia crossings have been popular and Hungary’s border fence did not stop some 20 thousand migrants from arriving in 2016.

7,000 refugees have been stuck in Serbia since the European migrant crisis erupted two years ago. Bulgaria, Hungary and other European Union members that border Serbia, which is not part of the 28-nation alliance, have closed their borders to refugees seeking to escape war and economic stagnation in Syria and elsewhere.