Balkan migrant route

One year after Balkan route closed, region is stuck in crisis mode

Twelve months after the so-called Balkan route was shut, many migrants are still stuck - or have disappeared - in Greece, others pile up in Serbia, while Austria acts as if the refugee crisis is still in full flow.

Several incidents caused by migrants reported in northern Serbia

Incidents caused by migrants have been reported in several villages in the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina as they attempt to reach the European Union through Hungary or Croatia, local media said on Friday.

Bosnia wary of possible spring migrant wave from Serbia

Thousands of migrants currently staying in Serbia will probably try to reach EU member countries via new routes this spring, and a large number of them will try to cross into Croatia via Bosnia and Herzegovina, the head of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Service for Aliens, Slobodan Ujic, said on Friday.

Approx. 7,500 migrants prevented from illegally entering Serbia in past 8 months

In the past several months, the authorities have prevented the illegal entry of approximately 7,500 migrants on Serbian soil. Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said Sunday.

Croatian Interior minister says Balkan migration route doesn't exist

The so-called Balkan route does not exist and the number of migrants arriving along it, is negligible, Interior Minister Vlaho Orepic said in Zupa Dubrovacka on Monday.

Hungary setting up military camps on border with Serbia

Hungary has set up a new military camp near the Kelebia border crossing with Serbia and has announced that it would set up another three camps in Bacsalmas, Madaras and Hercegszanto, with authorities announcing that a second line of fences will be erected, Vojvodina media reported on Thursday.

Balkan route countries look to plug last gaps in borders

Countries along the Balkan migration route agreed on Wednesday to seal the already hard borders and prevent a possible new surge of people trying to reach wealthy EU countries.

Illegal migrants found in parked truck in west Zagreb

Several illegal migrants were found in a truck parked in Zagreb's western suburb of Jankomir on Tuesday and were taken in by the police for identification.

Pahor: Razor-fence seemed necessary half a year ago, not so any more

Slovenian President Borut Pahor said on Monday that he believed that there was no longer any need for the razor fence on the border with Croatia.

Fire breaks out in Bulgaria's largest refugee camp

A fire erupted in Bulgaria's largest camp for refugees and migrants, forcing the evacuation of 500 people, private broadcaster bTV reported Tuesday.

Serbia to receive additional EUR 4mn from EU for migrants

Serbia will receive an additional EUR 4 million in aid for migrants, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides announced in Belgrade on Saturday.

Human Rights Watch: Croatian police forcing asylum seekers back to Serbia

Croatian police are forcing asylum seekers back to Serbia, in some cases using violence, without giving them an opportunity to lodge claims for protection, Human Rights Watch said on Friday.

Migrants shivering in Serbia find no warmth in Hungary, minister says

Hungary will not open its border to refugees and migrants facing bitterly cold conditions in neighbouring Serbia, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told a German newspaper.

Police in Italy and Germany bust migrant smuggling ring

Italian and German police have busted a six-member ring that smuggled asylum seekers into the European Union via the Balkans, state police in the Italian city of Ancona said Wednesday.

Thousands of migrants freeze along Balkan route, aid group says

Thousands of migrants in Greece and in the Balkans are suffering under the current freezing temperatures as local authorities have failed to prepare emergency measures, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said Monday.

2 Bulgarians indicted for illegal trafficking of Afghanis through Croatia

Two Bulgarian nationals were indicted by the prosecutorial authorities in Sisak on Monday for having illegally transported 67 Afghan migrants in inhumane conditions in a van through Croatia in mid-December when 35 of those refugees had to be hospitalised for carbon monoxide poisoning and hypothermia.

Three including child die in migrant smuggler crash in Serbia

Three migrants, including a child, were killed and 10 were injured when the vehicle smuggling them through Serbia overturned early Thursday, state television RTS reported.

Hungary's Orban says Berlin attack was aimed at "Christian values"

Hungary's conservative and fiercely anti-immigration Prime Minister Viktor Orban described the Berlin attack as a strike against "Christian values" on Tuesday.

Sources: Suspected Berlin attacker arrived via Balkan migration route

The man suspected of deliberately ramming a truck into a Berlin Christmas market is believed to have arrived in Germany via the Balkan migration route, security sources tell dpa.

Illegal migrants found in lorry east of Zagreb recovering well, 2 Bulgarians arrested

Most of 67 illegal migrants found in a lorry on the motorway near the eastern Croatian town of Novska on Saturday evening are men aged 15-20, and there are also two children aged 10-12, Health Minister Milan Kujundzic said on Sunday, stressing that all of the 42 migrants who had to be hospitalised were recovering well and would be discharged soon.

Dozens of migrants found hidden in lorry on motorway east of Zagreb

Over 50 migrants were found hidden in a cargo vehicle with foreign licence plates near Novska, 90 kilometres east of Zagreb on Saturday night, when traffic police stopped the lorry driving along the motorway, and a majority of the passengers were in a poor condition as they had inhaled carbon monoxide fumes and suffered from hypothermia.

Commissioner Avramopoulos: Balkan migrant route currently stable

EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos on Friday in Ljubljana underscored the importance of the Western Balkans for controlling the migration flows.

Croatian and Austrian interior ministers meet to discuss Schengen zone, migrant crisis

Croatia and Austria are connected by a long tradition of friendship and cooperation in security, Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said in Zagreb on Monday, praising Croatia for its management of the migrant crisis and expressing support for its accession to the Schengen passport-free zone as soon as possible.

PM says Slovenia protecting Schengen, will close border if necessary

If there is a new migrant wave along the Balkan route as last year, Slovenia will take every security measure and protect the external Schengen border, Prime Minister Miro Cerar told Maribor's Vecer daily of Thursday, adding that the border might be closed if Austria did the same.

Mass brawl breaks out between migrants in Belgrade, one stabbed to death

One person was stabbed to death and two were seriously injured in a mass brawl that broke out between two groups of migrants in central Belgrade on Monday, Serbian police said.

Croatian FM: Balkan route needs to remain shut and under control

It is very important that the Western Balkan migrant route remains shut and under control, Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Davor Ivo Stier said on Monday noting that last year's migrant wave that hit Europe illustrated the urgency to find a "joint effective and long-term solution for these movements," but also of the importance to continue the cooperation between the EU and Turkey.

Migrants return to Belgrade by train, refuse to go to reception centres

A group of migrants from Afghanistan and Pakistan, who attempted to break through a barricade put up by the Serbian police at the Sid-Tovarnik border crossing and enter Croatia, have returned to Belgrade by train, but many of them refused accommodation in reception centres, Radio and Television Serbia (RTS) reported on Tuesday.

Migrants give up on entering Croatia, return to Sid on foot

 A group of migrants from Afghanistan and Pakistan who attempted unsuccessfully to break through a barricade put up by the Serbian police at the Sid-Tovarnik border crossing and enter Croatia, gave up their efforts and returned to Sid on foot, an official of the Serbian Migrants and Refugees Commission, Ivan Gerginov, said on Monday evening.

Migrants try to break through police barricade and cross into Croatia

Around 130 migrants, who spent the night between Sunday and Monday in the open, around 2 pm on Monday attempted unsuccessfully to break through a barricade put up by the Serbian police at the Sid-Tovarnik border crossing, Radio Television Vojvodina (RTV) and the Tanjug news agency have reported.

Migrants reach Croatia's eastern border, seek passage to Italy and France

About a hundred migrants reached the eastern border of Croatia on foot on Sunday after refusing accommodation in Serbian reception centres.  

Minister: There are no problems with migrants at Tovarnik border crossing

Croatian Minister of the Interior Vlaho Orepic on Sunday visited Tovarnik, close to the border with Serbia, reporting afterwards that the situation there was stable and that there were no signs of any problems regarding migrants.

Migrants reach border town, Serbian authorities offer to return them to Belgrade

A group of migrants from Afghanistan and Pakistan, who on Friday set out on foot from Belgrade towards the border with Croatia, on Sunday arrived under police escort close to Sid, a town on the border with Croatia, a Serbian Labour and Welfare Ministry official confirmed to the public broadcaster RTS on Sunday.

Migrants from Serbia some 70 kilometres from Croatian border

About 150 migrants from Afghanistan and Pakistan who on Friday set out on foot from Belgrade towards Croatia were on Saturday about 70 kilometres away from the border with Croatia while some of them returned to the Serbian capital due to exhaustion, the RTS public broadcaster said.

Migrants set out on foot from Serbia towards Croatia

A group of about 150 migrants from Afghanistan and Pakistan set out on foot from Belgrade towards Croatia on Friday afternoon, seeking free and safe passage to western Europe.

Austria, neighbours discuss action to be taken if EU-Turkey deal falls through

Austria met on Monday with its Balkan neighbours to discuss what action they might take if a deal with Turkey aimed at restricting the flow of illegal migrants into the European Union collapses, Reuters reported.

Slovenian PM announces stricter controls of border with Croatia in case of migrant wave

Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar on Monday announced a stricter control of the border with Croatia in case of another migrant wave and pressure on Slovenia's borders, Slovenian media reported.

Serbia will not increase accommodation capacity for migrants

Serbia has been given additional funds by the European Union to manage the migrant crisis during the winter, but it has no intention of increasing the capacity for the reception of refugees and migrants, Serbian Labour and Social Welfare Minister Aleksandar Vulin said after talks with EU officials in Brussels on Friday.

EU's Tusk demands closure of Balkan route at Vienna summit

European countries must make sure that the Balkan route is completely closed to irregular migrants, European Council President Donald Tusk said Saturday at the start of a summit in Vienna.

Vucic: Serbia can't be Europe's first, last line of defence against migrants

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on Thursday that he was against setting up fences and walls but that Serbia could not be the first and last line of defence against migrants in Europe and that the EU should deal with the migrant crisis on its borders, according to the Belgrade electronic media.

Pressure of illegal migrants on Serbian-Bulgarian border growing, says official

The pressure of illegal migrants trying to enter Serbia across its eastern border from Bulgaria, in the areas of Negotin and Dimitrovgrad, has increased in the last two weeks, a spokesman for joint Serbian army and police forces patrolling the border with Macedonia and Bulgaria said on Thursday.

Croatia doesn't expect refugee tide, however, it is prepared - FM

"Croatia is prepared for a situation like last year when refugees passed through Croatia in large numbers. If that were to occur, which we don't expect, we will be prepared. We will once again cooperate with our neighbours. We have already shown that.

Interior minister: Croatia is part of humane solution to migrant crisis

Croatia is part of a humane solution to the migration crisis and will continue to take in migrants in accordance with its commitments, Interior Minister Vlaho Orepic said in the eastern border town of Tovarnik on Friday.

Balkan states close off main migration route to Northern Europe

Slovenia clamped down its borders to migrants Wednesday, setting off a wave of similar responses from other countries along what has been the main migration route into Europe amid the continent's ongoing refugee crisis.

Activists: Closing of Balkan migrant route - capitulation of EU

With its decision, the EU and all countries on the Balkan migrant route have given the green light to people smugglers, Skrabalo said.

Balkan migrant route closed down

The Balkan route, which has been used for months by more than a million migrants from the Middle East and elsewhere to reach western Europe, is being closed after countries on the route announced stricter border controls on Tuesday.

Croatian PM: Closing Balkan route should be main message

Oreskovic said that the talks would revolve also around the role of NATO and its assistance in the Aegean Sea in attempts to counter migrant smugglers.

Austrian leader insists on closure of Balkan migration route

Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann insists that the Balkan migration route leading to northern Europe should be shut down, setting up a fight over the issue at an EU summit in Brussels.

Merkel speaks out against closure of Balkan migration route

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday that she is against closing borders to stem the flow of people into Europe, ahead of an EU summit with Turkey aimed at finding fresh solutions to the migration surge.

Balkan route countries agree migrant transport scheme

Balkan countries on the path of a migration surge from Turkey and Greece to Austria and Germany have agreed a transport mechanism spanning four countries, Croatian state TV HRT reports Thursday.

Minister: Greece faces aid crisis if Balkan borders close to migrants

Closing Balkan borders to migrants could trigger a grave humanitarian crisis in Greece, the minister in charge of migrants, Ioannis Mouzalas told German newspaper Handelsblatt Thursday.

Greece braces itself as Balkan nations plan to block migration route

Greece is trying to figure out how it will accommodate record numbers of migrants stranded there should countries further along the Balkan migration route block access for refugees.

New FM says will mend relations with neighbours

The newly-appointed Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Miro Kovac, said on Thursday that he would start mending relations with neighbouring countries, which have deteriorated because of the refugee crisis, and if Germany were to drastically restrict the influx of refugees, Croatia would do the same to protect its territory.

HRW: Croatia approved only 32 asylum applications 2015

By the end of November last year, more than 400,000 migrants entered Croatia and quickly continued on their way to Hungary and Slovenia and in 2015, the government approved 32 applications for asylum, an annual report by Human Rights Watch about human rights in the world in 2015 shows.

EU turns up pressure on Greece to get a handle on migration flows

Greece faced mounting pressure from other EU countries on Monday to get a better handle on migration flows, but suggestions that the country could be excluded from Europe's border-free Schengen area faced resistance.

Stricter controls cause migrant bottleneck in Greece

The crossing from Greece to Macedonia has turned into a bottleneck on the Balkan migration route, with around 2,000 people being held up under new admissions rules, Greek state radio reported Monday quoting police.

EU president pushes back against Germany's open migration stance

EU President Donald Tusk challenges Germany's migration policy, in an interview in which he calls for member states to abide by asylum rules and downplays a Berlin-cherished plan for the sharing of refugees.

Slovenia to stop putting up wire fence in disputed border areas

Speaking of border fences in general, Cerar said: "No one wants a wire fence for a longer time, but right now it is necessary to control illegal migrations.

UN secretary-general condemns filtering of migrant flow on Balkan route

Profiling asylum seekers on the basis of their alleged nationality infringes the human right of all people to seek asylum, irrespective of their nationality ...