European Western Balkans

Borders are not closed

Berndt Körner

BELGRADE – Deputy Executive Director of Frontex, EU agency for the protection of external borders, Berndt Körner said during the discussion at EU Info Centre in Belgrade that state borders on the Western Balkans migrant route were not being closed, but the countries were trying to regain control over them.

This means that all persons entering the EU are being checked to determine whether they are in need of asylum, Körner said and pointed out that Frontex’s most important goal is to save migrants’ lives.

“Transporting refugees in boats not suitable for sailing on the high seas is a criminal activity. It is necessary to try, in cooperation with Turkish authorities, to disrupt criminal organisations,” Körner said.

He said we could expect criminals to find better routes for smuggling and expressed his concerns about the change in refugee route, which was why Frontex strengthened its activities in Italy.

“Perhaps the routes will be established through Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, directly from Greece to Italy or from Turkey to Italy,” Körner said.

According to him, it was hard to say what will happen in 2016 due to “numerous uncertainties”.

“If Syria peace talks and succeed situation in Libya stabilises, there is a chance the number of refugees will decrease. If the solutions fail to be achieved or a new crisis breaks, the numbers will most certainly increase,”Körner said.

The numbers used to drop in winter time. “This is not the trend right now,” said Berndt Körner, adding that the situation is not good, but we are however unable to make any precise prognosis.

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