Going into Monday’s EU summit on migration, Angela Merkel was adamant that the proposed language in final statement be changed from saying that the Western Balkan migrant route was officially “closed” to saying that “irregular flows of migrants along the Western Balkans route have now come to an end.” It was a victory, of sorts—after all, Merkel got her way on paper.
But after midnight last night, even the promised “regular” flows look to dry up considerably. The Guardian:
Slovenia’s interior ministry said late on Tuesday that from midnight (2300 GMT), access would only be granted to “foreigners meeting the requirements to enter the country”, those wishing to claim asylum, and refugees selected “on a case by case basis on humanitarian grounds and in accordance with the rules of the Schengen zone”.
Fellow EU member Croatia, which is not part of the passport-free Schengen zone, said it would follow Slovenia’s lead and refuse transit to most refugees as of midnight.
The European statesmen are at least paying lip service to the “regularization” of refugee flows. But further down the line, Macedonians were not being so politically correct:
“We have completely closed the border,” the police official, who declined to be named, told Reuters.
According to the Macedonian Interior Ministry, no migrants entered from Greece on Tuesday.
“Macedonia will act according to the decisions taken by other countries on the Balkan route,” an Interior Ministry spokesman said, referring to the main routes taken by more than a million migrants to reach the European Union over the last year.
Merkel’s idealistic open-arms rhetoric is taking a beating here, but the real problem ends up on Greece’s doorstep. As many as 14,000 migrants and refugees were camped out near the Macedonian border, hoping in vain that they might be allowed to cross as this week’s migration summit wound down. What will become of them is still far from clear.