* Balkan route closure cuts migrant arrivals to Germany by a third. Published by the Telegraph on March 8, 2016.
** Sometimes, the V4 Report must look back to remind Angela Merkel who is securing her borders and protecting the region from illegal migration.
From the linked article below:
– The number of asylum seekers arriving in Germany fell by a third last month (February 2016) in the first clear confirmation that the closure of the so-called “Balkan route” is choking off refugee numbers into northern Europe.
– Some 61,428 asylum seekers arrived in Germany last month, a third less than in January 2016, according to figures from the country’s interior ministry.
– Stephan Dünnwald, spokesman for the Bavarian Refugee Council, said he had noticed a clear fall in refugee numbers since Macedonia, Austria and countries along the Balkan route started limiting the number of asylum seekers through in mid-February.
“The figures have clearly fallen in the last few weeks,” he said, adding that he felt that the stricter Balkan route controls were behind the lower figures.
*** Of course, Merkel tried to take the credit before the elections, citing the EU’s deal with Turkey signed in late March of 2016 “after” the numbers had clearly already started to fall.
We will not say that the Turkey deal did not help to build on this foundation, but the Balkan closing was the “game-changer”. To deny this, as some in the German media imply, does not match the reality on the ground.
Why were the migrants flocking to Greece in such large numbers before this closing? It was their “gathering center” in route to Germany and Austria via the Balkans. They did not want to be stuck in Greece or Serbia; instead, they migrated to rich Germany.
It is logical that following the closing the Balkans, the Greece-Germany pipeline was effectively shut down. Many saw the migrant violence at the Macedonia border. News travels fast and the migrants, with little or no hope of Germany via Greece, shifted their attention to Italy (which is another story we covered) or decided to remain in Turkey. This took some of the pressure off Greece; unfortunately, Tsipras and his fellow socialists in the government failed to deport all ‘irregulars” back to Turkey.
**** Angela Merkel once called the closing of the Balkan route “not my Europe”. We hear little complaints from her today.
Regardless, Merkel does not own Europe and neither will she define its values.
Well done Visegrad, Macedonia, Austria and Croatia. Stand firm and don’t give up the fight.
Picture: Migrants, who are waiting to cross the Greek-Macedonian border, fight between themselves at a makeshift camp near Idomeni.