German media speculate about possible new migrant routes.
N-TV from Germany published a map of a new route which migrants wishing to reach Western Europe could use. According to the map, migrants could go from Greece to Albania, and then proceed through Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia to their final destination countries. German magazine Der Spiegel writes that, in addition to the route through Bosnia and Herzegovina, there is a possibility that refugees could pass through Dalmatia, reports Jutarnji List on March 3, 2016.
At their meeting on Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Croatian Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković agreed that the external borders of the EU must be defended and that no country should find itself under excessive burden of refugees. Orešković said that “we should support the Schengen rules and give maximum assistance to Greece, which carries the major part of the burden”, and added that there should also be support for Macedonia, to which Croatia has already sent members of its police forces. He confirmed that the government will initiate amendments to the law which will allow the army to help the police in protecting Croatian borders.
Macedonia yesterday briefly reopened its border and admitted more than 300 Syrian and Iraqi refugees, while another 10,000 migrants are waiting on the Greek side. That was the first group of migrants which has been allowed to cross the border since Monday afternoon, when clashes erupted between migrants and Macedonian police. After a meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk on Wednesday, Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov said that his country was cooperating with Greece in connection with the migration crisis.
Directors of Austrian, Slovenian, Croatian, Serbian and Macedonian police decided in Belgrade on Tuesday to step up controls at the borders. “One of the tasks of the meeting was how to organize the influx of migrants in order to reduce the pressure on the Greek-Macedonian border. We did not discuss quotas”, said the acting director of Serbian police Vladimir Rebić.
Due to limitations on the number of migrants granted entry into Austria and other European and Balkan countries, thousands of migrants and refugees have been waiting on the Greek side of the border with Macedonia. “Refugees and migrants will first be sent to existing temporary shelters, but we will later have to find a place for accommodation of those who want to stay longer in our country”, Greek Migration Minister Yannis Mouzalas said on Wednesday. Hundreds of migrants continued to arrive at the border by taxi and on foot. According to the Migration Ministry, around 25,000 migrants and refugees have been blocked in Greece on Wednesday.