Macedonia and the Migrant Crisis

Many of you are beginning to see reports in the media about the migrant crisis in Macedonia. About two months ago, the government agreed that migrants could have 72 hours to transit through the country and they could also use public transportation conveyances. Since then,  the numbers transiting through the  country have increased dramatically. It is making it difficult to handle.

Most media continue to carry prominent reports and reactions on the situation with refugees.  The most recent online media reports say that the first 1,000 migrants that transited through Macedonia under the new system they have put in place at the border have reached Hungary through Serbia.   
All media quote Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, who met with Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki in Skopje yesterday, underlining his statement that the EU must help Macedonia through a coordinated response to the refugee crisis.  “By my visit today I wish to urge Brussels to consider not leaving Macedonia and Serbia alone with this problem, but rather helping them.  It is very problematic that refugees are coming from an EU country, namely from Greece, into nonEU country. We have created a system without borders in the EU, which means that the EU’s outer border should be securebut now we see Greece letting migrants go to Macedonia, which is unacceptable. I therefore, appeal for a stronger cooperation between the EU and Greece and Greece and Macedonia,” he said.  He added that Austria has a five-point plan for resolving the crisis, which he will present at the Western Balkans conference on Thursday in Vienna.  He believes the plan will also be discussed at the EU Summit in October.   Media also report that he joined Interior Minister Mitko Cavkov and toured the refugee camp near Gevgelija.  
Some media quote the President of the European Commission Jean- Claude Juncker saying in a recent op-ed in French Figaro that there is no need for a new EU summit on immigration.  He underlines that the member states should rather stop dragging their feet and implement the existing measures in their territories.
Some media quote French FM Laurent Fabius saying that the migrant crisis in Macedonia should be resolved without delay.  He announced that EU foreign and interior ministers will address the issue of the increasing number of migrants coming to EU countries through Macedonia.
Vest cites UNHCR call to the EU to consolidate their positions in addressing the current migrant crisis after the chaotic scenes over the weekend in Greece, Macedonia and Serbia.  UNHCR also criticized Greece for not registering the migrants before letting them into Macedonia, Vest reports.
In its report, Sloboden Pecat notes that Russian Ambassador to Serbia visited a refugee center yesterday and commended Serbia for its human approach to handling the crisis.  He called the refugee surge an Arab Autumn – a continuation of the Arab Sprig, which has returned as a boomerang to those who started it, the paper reports.
And, of course, the media is continually covering this issue. Volunteers are doing whatever they can to lessen the problems these migrants may encounter. It is a very sad situation  and  one that we as volunteers in service pay very close attention. We have seen these migrants walking along the highways carrying their possessions and carrying their children. Some are on bicycles. I don’t know the answer but hopefully they can soon figure it out as the EU countries are becoming swamped by the hopeful refugees looking for a better life. At some point they will not be able to accept anymore as they will have exhausted the capacity of the countries helping.

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Eileen

A 60 something woman who has run off to faraway places with the Peace Corps.

2 thoughts on “Macedonia and the Migrant Crisis”

  1. I was wondering how immigrant movement was affecting you. Hopefully it will be resolved peacefully and in a peaceful manner.

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