Border guards from the European Union will join those from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) in patrolling the line alone Greece, which has been closed to keep migrants and refugees from getting in and trying to reach other countries.
That will happen if FYROM faces “sudden migratory challenges,” after it joined other EU countries more than two years ago in shutting down borders and dumping the problem on Greece, now stuck with more than 64,000 refugees and migrants, including more than 15,000 on islands near Turkey, which allows human traffickers to operate during a suspended swap deal with the EU.
The deal was okayed by FYROM Interior Minister Oliver Spasovski the EU’s migration chief, Greece’s Dimitris Avramopoulos – who is not forcing countries to live up to pledges to take some of the overload from Greece.
Although now officially closed, what became known as the Western Balkan route which went from Greece to FYROM and then northward into central Europe is still used by migrants, many of whom rely on smugglers, to try and reach wealthier EU countries.
In a press statement, Avramopoulos said the deal with FYROM will allow the European Agency which operates border patrols to “fully exercise its potential, reacting swiftly to migratory challenges,” despite criticism it’s overwhelmed and can’t.
(Material from the Associated Press was used in this report)