Austrian FM defends closing borders to deter migrants


Austria's foreign minister says closing the so-called "Balkan route" to migrants seeking to reach central and northern Europe was the right move.

Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz held talks with his counterpart of Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Nikola Poposki, on Sunday. He told reporters afterward that closing borders to deter migrants has become an accepted practice despite initial criticism.

Earlier, Kurz visited a refugee camp in the town of Gevgelija, on FYROM’s southern border with Greece. He praised FYROM’s role in securing European borders.

He was scheduled to tour a similar camp in the country's northern border with Serbia, Monday.

Before the Balkan route was shut in March 2016, over 1 million refugees and other migrants had traveled through FYROM on their way to wealthier EU members. About 200 remain stranded in FYROM. [Reuters]