Refugees stuck in bottleneck at northern border

Refugees stuck in bottleneck at northern border

As a bottleneck of refugees formed at Greece’s northern border with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) on Monday, European Union Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos called on interior ministers meeting in Brussels to do more to relieve pressure from first-reception countries like Greece and Italy.

“It is now time for them [the member states] to accelerate the work to make… promises a reality on the ground,” he said in a statement addressed to the meeting, held ahead of a special EU-Africa refugee summit in Malta on Wednesday.

Avramopoulos called for more relocations, tighter border controls and more reception and processing centers along the more popular entry routes.

In Idomeni near the FYROM border, reports suggested that there are over 10,000 migrants and refugees trapped as they wait to make the crossing. The bottleneck is partly due to the sudden arrival of over 7,000 refugees and migrants from islands such as Lesvos and Samos over the weekend and on Monday following the resumption of ferry services after a four-day strike.

In a related development on Monday, the spokesman for the right-wing Sweden Democrats party was quoted by Associated Press as confirming that the party was behind a flyers campaign on Lesvos to discourage refugees and migrants from attempting the trip to northern Europe.

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