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Migrants entering the EU. Photo supplied

Migrant flow on Balkan route shows marked increase

The Balkan migration route is seeing an uptick in migrant traffic.

Published: June 7, 2019, 12:31 pm

    Budapest

    According to Gyorgy Bakondi, Chief Security Advisor to Prime Minister Viktor Orban, security concerns remain in relation to migration traffic: “There is an increase being seen along the Balkan migration route. This is also being felt at the Hungarian border, where some 4700 illegal immigrants were apprehended and accompanied back to the border during the first five months of the year”.

    According to Bakondi: “The seven-hundred-person weekly average of the previous period doubled in May, and larger groups are now also attempting to cross the Hungarian border”, he added.

    The fact that military personnel will also be taking part in the defence of the southern border from Saturday has been enabling the reallocation of various police units from the border.

    Speaking on Hungarian M1 television’s Saturday evening current affairs program, Bakondi said: “Over the next three months a significant number of police units are required in the interior of the country because of the Maccabi European Games, the Formula 1 Grand Prix, and the peak tourist season at Lake Balaton”.

    He added: “At such times, the presence of police officers is highly important with relation to maintaining public order.”

    He concluded: “In addition, in view of the critical situation that has developed in the vicinity of the Croatian-Bosnian border, the attempted movements of people from there towards the Hungarian border must also be carefully monitored. We must be in a state of readiness to reinforce the Croatian border if necessary”, the chief security advisor warned.

    The EU’s border protection agency deployed teams to Albania last month to stop illegal immigration, in Frontex’s first mission outside EU territory.

    Albanian police will patrol “shoulder to shoulder” with border guards from across the EU on the country’s frontier with Greece, according to Frontex Executive Director Fabrice Leggeri.

    Migrants from Africa and the Middle East cross the Mediterranean Sea to Greece and continue their journey north across the Balkans.

    Frontex will be sending 50 officers from 12 EU countries to Albania, together with 16 patrol cars and one van equipped with night vision equipment. Similar accords are being prepared with Bosnia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia, set to go into effect soon.

    All of these non-EU countries are located on the so-called Balkan route used by migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

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