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Refugees along the Western Balkan Route

Refugees along the Western Balkan Route

Until this date the states along the Western Balkan Route are mostly affected by families and single persons who fled from Syria and Iraq. In the course of last year more than one million people took the route from Turkey to Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary/Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Germany to Sweden. Furthermore migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan but as well from some of the Western Balkan states such as Albania and Kosovo added to the high numbers which EU countries, especially Austria, Germany and Sweden were facing.

Instrumental in regaining some sort of upper hand in managing the sheer numbers proved the distinction between refugees and migrants (for definition, see OSCE). The soon labeled “refugee crisis” swept away the Dublin Regulation, put the Schengen agreement of borderless travel in question and shook the EU to its fundaments. Only a small number of EU states is willing to receive a quota of refugees. Thus the universal principle laid down in the Geneva Conventions is openly contested by heads of states. Nationalist and populist policies dwell on the “refugee question” in addressing fears and stereotypes.

FNF Western Balkans together with its partners started last year to conduct a row of seminars, dedicated to deal with questions of responsibility and integration. Despite the sealing of the borders between Greece and Macedonia and the introduction of a daily quota of 580 refugees a day (current state of play) for passing through Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Austria one might expect higher numbers who try to look for alternative routes and trust their fate to smugglers. Miksaliste is based on a civic initiative which provides aid to refugees and migrants who reached one way or the other Belgrade. Together with FNF it embarked on a story telling project which gives refugees a voice. Each individual tells his story which reflects upon the life she/he lead before deciding to flee his/her country. The aim is to give our distinguished readers additional opportunity to get to know more about the cultural and social background refugees come from.

Read their stories

It is not astounding that Liberals see themselves at the forefront of the discussion for keeping EU’s liberties. Read here the latest ALDE paper.


Furthermore FNF will use this page to inform about its events dedicated to the broader refugee topic in the (broader) region – Greece and Turkey included.