Balkan migration route still open

  • Umay Atik
  • 14.3.2017 09:39

Despite the closure of the Balkan route since March 2016, Austrian Defence Minister Hans-Peter Doskozil and Slovenian Interior Ministry State Secretary Boštjan Šefic warned that migrants continue to use it.

The inflow of refugees through the Balkans has decreased due to the EU-Turkey refugee agreement. While in January and February 2016 124,500 people came to Greece from Turkey, the number was 2,379 for the same period of 2017. However, Frontex officials warned that migration has not stopped completely. Some 382,000 migrants arrived in Europe in 2016, while almost 42,000 refugees came to Austria and 36,000 asylum applications were made. Doskozil added that 75% came from the Balkans and the numbers are expected to increase in spring. In reaction, Austria introduced daily and yearly limits for the number of asylum-seekers it would let in, prompting other countries do adopt similar measures. Increasingly tense relations between Europe and Turkey are creating concern about the future of EU-Turkey refugee agreement, with Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus claiming the migrant deal ended as Europe did not keep its promises.

About author: Umay Atik

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