While the refugee crisis shows no signs of settling down, refugees trying to flee into Europe find themselves running out of options. This happens as the number of refugees arriving in Europe this year is breaking the record established in 2015 – only in the last two months the number has exceeded what happened in six months in the previous year.
In the midst of this situation, several countries are closing off – or severely restricting – some of the routes used by refugees to get into the EU. This decision has been condemned by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, reads an article published on BBC.
The countries who have decided to close Balkan Routes for refugees are:
- Hungary, who built a razor-wire barrier on its borders with Serbia and Croatia, and is now threatening to do the same along its border with Romania.
- Austria, who erected a four-kilometer-long fence at its border with Slovenia and then deployed armed forces around it. Last month, it even limited applications for asylum to 80 a day and the number of people allowed to cross to 3,200.
- Macedonia, Croatia, and Slovenia announced this week that their borders with Greece are now closed off to refugees. This decision has left some 13,000 migrants and refugees stranded at the border.
- Bulgaria can be considered a potential route, though it still has a barrier along some of its borders.
- Turkey agreed to reduce the flow of refugees to both its territory and that of Syria. The deal made with the EU entails that a Syrian in Greece will be sent to Turkey in exchange for a Syrian in Turkey who qualifies for asylum in Europe. The UN has already warned that this deal could be violating international law.