60,000 migrants are ‘locked up’ in the Balkans, situation could escalate further

According to Gerald Tatzgern, an officer of Austria’s Criminal Prosecution Service specialised in prosecuting traffickers, about 60,000 people are now “locked up” in the Balkans.

Despite recent displacement of refugee/migrant flows to Spain, experts point out that the situation in the Balkan countries remains tense.

“These numbers consist partly of people who have lived there for a long time, but also of immigrants who arrived recently via Greece,” the expert said, according to the German news agency DPA.

According to data from the International Red Cross, since the start of the year 8000 new migrants have arrived in Bosnia, a number 8 times larger than the year before.

In Greece from January 1st to the 8th of July, 24,000 new arrivals of immigrants and refugees were recorded; a 122% increase compared to the same period last year, said Tatsgern. According to him, refugee flows through the Evros area are playing an increasingly important role.

Since the beginning of the year, the number of people who tried to cross the Evros river illegally from Turkey to Greece has exploded.

The immigration deal between the EU and Turkey, that was signed in the year 2015, does not include the migrants that cross the territorial borders of Greece and Turkey, that’s why the Turks do not prevent the migrants from storming into Greece. Only migrants arriving by sea are being pushed back to Turkey.

According to the Austrian specialist, who has fought human traffickers for over 17 years, the situation could escalate further if the economic situation in Turkey gets worse.

Thousands of migrants work in Turkey and if the economy of the country falls apart, many of them will be left unemployed and seek their ways into Europe via Greece.

He also proposes several ways for Europe to prevent this from happening, “We have to take advantage of the situation now, while the migrant flow to Europe is relatively low, we must protect our borders better, and help the homelands of the migrants economically…..”.