[ Director: Mário Frota [ Coordenador Editorial: José Carlos Fernandes Pereira [ Fundado em 30-11-1999 [ Edição III [ Ano X

quinta-feira, 22 de junho de 2017

Report: Western Balkans route not closed, just diverted via Bulgaria

Members of Serbian Army patrol the border between Serbia and Bulgaria trying to stop the illegal entrance of migrants. Dimitrovgrad, 13 January.
[Djordje Savic/EPA]


Migration will be discussed on Friday (23 June), the second day of the summit. According to diplomats decisions are not expected at this stage, but a frank discussion “on the external aspects” is very likely to take place.

On Wednesday (21 June), the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung released a 26-page report, pointing out at the fragility of the situation since the EU-Turkey deal, which in theory closed the Western Balkans route.

In reality, the report says that the migrants’ route was diverted, with the southern entry point shifting from the Greek islands to Bulgaria’s land border with Turkey. With the Western Balkans route, migrants got stranded in Serbia, while with the diverted route, they remain stranded in Bulgaria, as all the countries further West are securing their borders and pushing back the refugees, the report says.

Apart from Greece, as of the end of 2016, Serbia and Bulgaria are the countries with the highest number of stranded asylum seekers: 6,232 in Serbia and 5,534 in Bulgaria.
 
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