Sunday

22nd Apr 2018

Greece dismantles Macedonia border camp

  • People seeking refuge in mainland Europe are primarily using the Western Balkan route (Photo: Stephen Ryan / IFRC)

Authorities on Wednesday (9 December) removed some 2,300 people from a makeshift camp on the Greek side of the Macedonian border after weeks of tension.

Nationals from Algeria, Bangladesh, Morocco, Pakistan, and Somalia, among others, were bussed to former Olympic venues in Elliniko and Galatsi.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Only those that have a good chance of obtaining asylum, such as Syrians, Iraqis, and Afghans are allowed to cross the barbed-wire and chain-link fence separating the two states in their efforts to reach mainland EU.

Greek media outlet Kathimerini reports that the police operation went mostly without incident although some 30 people were temporarily detained.

The border has been one of the main flashpoints for the tens of thousands migrants heading towards northern EU member states Germany and Sweden.

The site has seen a group of seven asylum seekers sew shut their mouths in protest after being barred from entering the Balkan country.

The border shutdown is likely to push people smugglers to find alternative entry points, possibly in Albania, Montenegro, Croatia or Bosnia.

The latest move comes amid an announcement that close to 1 million people have arrived in the EU this year to seek asylum and refuge.

Around 75 percent come from war torn countries like Syria, Afghanistan, or Iraq. Around 3,550 died in the attempt.

Others have perished while in Europe. Among the more gruesome was the discovery of 71 refugees and migrants in a refrigeration truck abandoned near the Austrian border with Hungary in late August.

The arrival figures have pushed the number of registered asylum applications throughout the EU to over 1 million in the first ll months of this year.

Eurostat, the EU's statistical office, said 94 percent of those registered were first time applicants. Around a quarter are Syrians, followed by Afghani (12 percent) and Iraqis (9 percent).

Germany alone registered 965,000 people as asylum-seekers from January to November.

Interior minister Thomas de Maiziere says the pace of arrivals has since slowed over the past few days from around 10,000 to 3,000.

"This isn't yet a turnaround, but it is a good development," he said on Wednesday, reports the Associated Press.

De Maiziere, along with his French counterpart Bernard Cazeneuve, want the inflows reduced even further.

The two, in a joint-letter to the EU commissioner for migration Dimitris Avramopoulos, had also backed an EU plan to set up a new European border and coast guard system.

Leaders will be discuss the plan, along with other migration-related issues, when they meet in Brussels next week at a summit.

EU refugee relocation grinds to near halt

Two months after agreement, only 160 refugees have been relocated from Greece and Italy, with just two EU "hotspots" out of 12 up and running.

Feature

'Flobert' guns - Europe's latest terror loophole

Project Safte, an international research project funded by the European Commission, has revealed a loophole in the EU firearms directive that is being exploited by criminals and possibly terrorists.

News in Brief

  1. Audit office: Brexit 'divorce' bill could be billions higher
  2. MEPs urge better protection for journalists
  3. Dieselgate: MEPs back greater role for EU in car approvals
  4. European parliament adopts new organic farming rules
  5. EU granted protection to half million people in 2017
  6. Report: Facebook to carve 1.5bn users out of EU privacy law
  7. Greek court ruling permits migrants to travel to mainland
  8. Commonwealth summit hopes for trade boost after Brexit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  2. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  3. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  4. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  5. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  6. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  7. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  10. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  11. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia

Latest News

  1. ECJ ruling set to end 10-year 'mouth tobacco' lobbying saga
  2. Whistleblowers, Syria and digital revolution This WEEK
  3. MEP friendship groups offer 'backdoor' for pariah regimes
  4. Macron and Merkel pledge euro reform
  5. Obscurity surrounds EU military fund's expert groups
  6. New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability
  7. Draghi to stay in secretive 'lobby' group
  8. Bulgaria offers lesson in tackling radical-right populists