Macedonia is the latest hot spot in Europe’s-wide migrant crisis

Read few comments.

Questions:

1. Would you say that the state of emergency on the Macedonian borders is the right answer to migration crisis?

2. If we are talking more broadly about the Balkans route for migrants, in your opinion, what should/could be done to manage the flow of migrants?

Answers:

Stella GeorgiadouAssociate Tutor (Politics), Research Student (Politics), University of Sussex

Macedonia has declared a state of emergency in an endeavour to stop the migration flow over its southern border with Greece. The border was easily permeable. Closing it by deploying the military will indeed disrupt the Balkan route for migrants.

As Amnesty International recently reported, the Balkan route has become the “busiest irregular passage to the EU”. Macedonia is not the final stop for the migrants. People are passing through Macedonia while heading to more prosperous European Union countries.

The increasing usage of the Balkan route is the result of the failed EU policies. The EU has failed to generate a sustainable plan to deal with the people coming to Europe from conflict-ridden countries. In the meantime, EU countries are taking stricter measures against migrants. Hungary, for example, is building a fence across its border with Serbia.

By limiting and restricting the available routes of entry for migrants, the EU and its member states have put much pressure on neighbouring countries, like Macedonia. The EU should, therefore, work towards a comprehensive and sustainable approach on migration.

Ioannis MichaletosPolitical & Security Analyst, Associate at Institute for Security and Defence Analysis

Regarding first question, what will happen for sure is a “re-direction” of the flow, most likely from Greece-Bulgaria,thus there will be no real solution to the issue.

Second question and very important: The Balkan route starts from Turkey, which over the past few months, has informally but surely given a “green light” for the massive transfer of immigrants hosted in its territory towards the Balkans and consequently to the rest of the EU. On the other hand the continuing wars in Middle East further fuel the phenomena. Thus since diplomatically it is very difficult for Turkey to agree to change its course, or for the EU to “stop” the wars in the Middle East, the following measures can be proposed:

– Only refugees from Syria should be accepted under terms that they will know beforehand that this is temporary and they will not acquire citizenships or permanent residence in EU countries. All other nationalities should be deported using air travel by special designated flights

– EU and other international bodies such as UN, IOM should set up bases in the EU countries bordering with Turkey: Greece and Bulgaria that will have the personnel and funding to quickly manage the first proposal

– EU missions on sea and ground (such as FRONTEX) should be encashed

– EU countries should focus in disbanding smuggling networks

– The borders between EU states and non EU ones should again be “re-militarized”. That means that Bulgaria and Greece should deploy the armed patrols and all necessary land forces measures regarding Turkey-same for sea borders. Over the course of the last decade the EU was actively pushing for the police and coast guard to assume borderline patrolling. This seems not to be functional any more in light of the dramatic inflow of immigrants. Moreover in diplomatic terms that will constitute a clear message to Turkey that its behavior and sanctioning of powerful smuggling networks in its territory has resulted in re-emergence of the militarization of the borders

– Lastly regarding (Syrian refugee) allocation the EU should demand that countries such as US, Canada, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Gulf states, Iran and others that are involved one way or another in the crisis , should also bear part of the responsibility either by accepting refugees or paying their share of costs.

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