Refugees: EU Agrees On Closure Of Balkan Route

Refugees stuck in Idomeni. Image by Twitter account @voicesonsite

Refugees stuck in Idomeni. Image by Twitter account @voicesonsite

Austrian daily newspaper “Standard” reports that they received a secret document which reveals that the EU will close the so-called Balkan route for refugees during tomorrows EU summit. Refugees who don’t have a chance to achieve asylum according to the rules of EU states shall be deported to Turkey.

According to “Standard” the draft conclusion of tomorrows EU summit was agreed on last night between EU governments. Diplomats said there will be some fine-tuning today but the main points won’t be changed. The document says the Greek government has to open refugee facilities for 50,000 refugees (and will receive “any” help) and EU leaders also agreed to stop the “illegal” influx of refugees immediately.  The “wave though” policy to Germany along the Balkan route from now on will be a top priority of EU politics.

Mondays special EU summit with Turkey and the meeting of the 28 EU member state leaders without Turkish prime minister Davutoglu afterwards will only officially agree on the closure of the Balkan route. Decisions are already made. In the secret draft conclusion of the summit, it is written: “As a result irregular flows of migrants along the western Balkan route are coming to an end. This route is closed now”

Many of the measures that will be taken are based on agreements with the Erdogan regime that will be implemented step by step after tomorrows EU summit with Turkey. Despite the commotion after the Turkish state attacked the daily newspaper Zaman, Brussels expects that Turkish prime minister Davutoglu will attend the meeting on Monday to confirm the agreements that were negotiated in the past days.

A pert of the leaked EU document

A part of the leaked EU document

The EU outlines a deal with Turkey in which Turkey agrees to the deportation of refugees to Turkey who have no chance to achieve asylum according to the rules of EU states. The EU wants to implement the plan on June 1. Until then refugees will be deported on the basis of a bilateral agreement between Greece and the Turkish state. The EU also wants Turkey to stop the influx of refugees into the European Union. In exchange, the EU states will start to take Syrian refugees directly from Turkey, but German interior minister Thomas de Mazière said yesterday that Germany will only take small numbers. De Mazière also said that Germany will not take refugees from Greece. He stated that Greece can manage the 25.000 refugees on Greek soil by themselves. In reality, there are many more than 25.000 refugees. In Idomeni (Greek/FYROM border) alone are more than 14.000 refugees.

Protests against the closed border between Greece and Macedonia in Idomeni earlier today.

Protests against the closed border between Greece and Macedonia in Idomeni earlier today.

The EU decision of the closure of the Balkan route is no surprise. In the invitation for tomorrows EU summit, the president of the EU council, Donald Tusk wrote: “First, we need to get back to Schengen. The countries of the Western Balkans route, also those outside the EU, are all ready and determined to return to the full application of our common rules and decisions, including the Schengen Borders Code. This will mean an end to the so-called wave-through policy of migrants. It will not solve the crisis but it is a necessary pre-condition for a European consensus. On Monday, we should all confirm this approach. With that, we will close the Western Balkans route, which was the main entry point for migrants with 880.000 entering in 2015 alone and 128.000 in the first two months of this year.”

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With this decision the EU forces refugees to seek new routes into the EU. These routes will be more dangerous and its expected that more refugees will die during their journey. Activists are already mobilising for a transnational march to the Greek/Macedonian (FYROM) border to protest against what they call “Fortress Europe.”

Transnational Mobilisations After Police Violence Against Refugees In Idomeni And Calais


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Born near the city of Amsterdam I started filming, taking photos and writing for autonomous and other magazines in the 1980's in Amsterdam. Nowadays I write for Revolution News and several blogs in Germany. Sometimes I live in Germany, sometimes on Tenerife, Canary Islands.