Macedonia Will Let in Only Migrants Who Will Be Accepted in EUSoutheast Europe | November 23, 2015, Monday // 17:36| views
Migrants, who were barred from crossing the border, stand in front of police cordon during a protest near Gevegelija, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, 23 November 2015. EPA/BGNES
Macedonia will do whatever is needed to prevent unauthorized crossing of its borders, the country’s Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki has said.
The Macedonian authorities will take action to redirect migrants to border points where they can be properly registered, Poposki told foreign ambassadors in Skopje, according to MIA.
The government will provide aid to migrants coming from war-affected countries, allow them transit passage through Macedonia to their final destinations in EU member states and open centres for their accommodation for a limited period of time.
Economic migrants, however, will be turned back, because Macedonia is unable to provide shelter for them, Poposki said.
“Macedonia cannot open its doors for those who cannot be accommodated in the EU, mostly because that they don’t arrive in Macedonia to stay here, they want to travel to EU member states. What is even more important is that the migrants are arriving in Macedonia from an EU member state,” MIA quoted Poposki as telling reporters after the meeting with the foreign ambassadors.
About 1,300 migrants gathered in the Greek border town of Idomeni protested over the weekend against the decision of the authorities in neighbouring Macedonia to turn away migrants who were not coming from war zones such as Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, AP reported earlier.
Once they cross into Macedonia, migrants head for the town of Gevgelija, from where they continue by rail north through Serbia toward wealthier countries of northern Europe, mainly Germany and Sweden.
Slovenia, a member of Europe's Schengen zone of passport-free travel, declared last week that it would only grant passage to those fleeing conflict in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, while all others considered to be 'economic migrants' would be turned back. The decision made other countries lying on the so-called Balkan route for migrants to take the same step.
At least five migrants stuck on the Greek-Macedonian border on Monday sewed their lips to protest against not being allowed to continue their journey to Europe, AFP reported.
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