The closure of borders in the north of Greece has created chaos: thousands of refugees and migrants wandering from Athens to Idomeni without knowing where to sleep and what to eat, where to lay their kids and elderly to sleep.
FYROM, Croatia, Slovenia and Austria has closed their border today. Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia said on Friday they would each restrict the number of migrants allowed to enter their territories to 580 per day, while Austria already introduced a daily cap of 80 asylum-seekers and said it would only let 3,200 migrants pass through each day. However, FYROM’s borders remained close all day Friday, onloy 150 crossed on Thursday. Albania, that had earlier said to accept refugees, decided otherwise at the end of the day, after the West Ballkan Conference initiated by Austria. Prime Minister Eddi Rama said that his country will not accept any refugees.
Also the push-backs have started: Austria sent back 50 Syrians two days ago, they arrived in Idomeni , Greece a couple of hours ago. According to latest information, Serbia is going to push-back 1,000 people to FYROM and FYROM will forward them to Greece.
Refugees, asylum-seekers, migrants: all in one pot. End of story:
The Balkan Route is cut.
20,000-25,000 people are trapped in Greece.
Allegedly concerned that a humanitarian crisis may occur, the European Commission is working out a contingency plan to tackle the crisis and avoid the disaster.
“Senior European officials are embracing the so-far taboo idea of cutting off the migrant trail in Greece, a step that they acknowledge could create a humanitarian crisis in the country, says a report in the Wall Street Journal.
This so-called Plan B, floated until now only by Europe’s populist leaders, is a sign of rapidly waning confidence in other European Union policies to deal with the migration crisis—in particular in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s game plan of relying mainly on Turkey to stem the human tide.”
Apparently the EU are looking into the EU-Turkey Leaders Summit scheduled for March 7th. I saw on TV, German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying that “results of NATO mission have to be awaited, first.” NATO’s sea-monitoring mission has been officially launched in the eastern Aegean today.
Should NATO’s mission fail and Turkey would show show much willingness for cooperation, refugees and migrants will be keep coming form Turkey to Greece. “And this has to be stopped” the EU officials think and they argue that bottling up the migrants in Greece would be more manageable than having them stranded in poorer, non-EU neighboring countries in the Balkans.
“Greece wouldn’t be the worst place to have a humanitarian crisis for a few months,” one EU official told WSJ, adding that the population there was much more refugee-friendly than those in the Balkans or Eastern Europe.”Four senior EU officials said that Greece, as an EU member state, could receive more bloc funding and other practical help to cope with the stranded migrants than its Balkan neighbors, where ethnic conflicts could flare up anytime. Once the message trickles through that migrants are stuck in Greece, the officials said the hope is that fewer people would attempt to come in the first place.”