Macedonia and the whole region will face a new migrant wave

Reporter: The assumptions are as follows: if the agreement between EU and Turkey breaks down, as the last signals indicate is likely to happen, then Macedonia and the whole region will face a new migrant wave. The expectations of people that know this problematics are that the intensity of the new wave might be as the previous one. We can presumably say that the only positive thing in this whole thing is that the public institutions in the region have fair amount of experience on how to handle with this new migrant wave. Whether this will happen we will see, this is just a prognosis. About this topic today I was talking to the president of Legis- Jasmin Redzepi, the NGO that has been directly involved in the handling of this problem. Following, we can hear the statement of Redzepi and his thoughts about this topic.

Redzepi: The current situation, if the agreement between EU and Turkey is followed, will be as it is now, we will just have sporadic entrances of illegal migrants from Greece to Macedonia that will try in different ways with smugglers to enter the territory of Macedonia and to continue further. But, if that does not happen, if EU does not succeed to make a deal with Turkey, most probably there will be a second wave. And the second wave will presumably be a little smaller, or maybe equal to the one before. That is the reason why I think that all of us, the countries from the Balkan route as well as the organizations, have to be prepared for that possible scenario because previously, many countries and organizations were not prepared for the first wave of refugees. Europe itself was not prepared enough, so now we all have to be ready, to have all the resources and capacities to be able to respond if the second wave would happen.

Reporter: Their situation is hard and unpredictable. I suppose that their destiny will be resolved with a political decision, because as we all know, the Balkan route is officially closed. Their way to Western Europe is definitely prevented, but they refuse to go back to Greece. There are 250 migrants in “Tabanovce” and 150 in “Vinojug”. These are the most persistent ones that have declined all the offers to be settled in Greece in much more agreeable conditions than the ones they have now. There are mostly women and children, because the younger ones and the men have already found their ways how to go out of Macedonia and enter Serbia and continue their journey. Most often, for this they unfortunately use smugglers and other illegal ways. However, I suggest now to hear one more statement by Jasmin Redzepi and his thoughts about what we should do to solve this situation and the dead end the remaining 400 migrants are facing now in the territory of Macedonia.

Redzepi: Currently, they are without an appropriate legal status in the country, they are not seeking asylum to stay, they cannot go back to Greece, nor can they go further legally. Many of them went illegally. What us, the NGO sector does is that at every meeting with the European diplomats, ambassadors and politicians that come with delegations at the camps, we ask to accept them. Because it is not a big number. If they could accept 1 million in 2015, they could now receive 400 people from Macedonia and 800 from Serbia, it is not a big number. Now, that Idomeni is emptied, those refugees are taken back to the territory of Greece, there are less chances for illegal migrations. I think that what EU should do is to be fair to them and to reunite them with their families who are already on the territory of EU.