Dieser Beitrag entstand im Rahmen des Projekts Moving Europe. Aktuell sind wir vor Ort in Belgrad, Sofia, Idomeni und Athen.
Am Sonntag, den 21. Februar 2016 schloss Mazedonien die Grenze für Geflüchtete, die aus Afghanistan stammen. Dies stellt gewissermaßen die nächste „Verengung“ der Balkanroute dar, die schon lange erwartet wurde, nachdem in Idomeni – wo sich der Grenzübergang von Griechenland nach Mazedonien befindet – bereits seit November des letzten Jahres nur noch SyrerInnen, IrakerInnen und AfghanInnen passieren durften. Bereits diese erste „Verengung“ führte zu massiven Protesten, die wir ausführlich dokumentierten.
Beim EU-Gipfel am 18./19. Februar wird die “Bewältigung der Flüchtlingskrise” weiter im Mittelpunkt stehen. Der Joint Action Plan mit der Türkei und der Druck auf Griechenland zur besseren Zusammenarbeit hat noch nicht die erwünschte Wirkung gezeigt. Zwar spricht die Kommission in ihrer am 10.2. veröffentlichten Bestandsaufnahme über die Implementierung der im Dezember beschlossenen Maßnahmen von “großen Erfolgen”. Außer der Steigerung der Registrierungszahlen und abgenommenen Fingerabdrücke in Italien und Griechenland, bestätigt der Bericht jedoch eher eine stockende Umsetzung und wenig politischen Willen der Mitgliedsstaaten.
Article by Mathias Fiedler, Photos by Charlotte Schmitz
One can recognize the negotiation process between the EU and Turkey in the so called “harmonization packages“ which were aimed to harmonize Turkish law with the European Union legislation. The EU is more than ever before eager to collaborate with Turkey and both “partners“ agreed on a “joint action plan” concerning migration . Turkey, being the most important transit country to Europe, is one of the “focal points of the EU’s externalization strategy” and the EU promised three Billion EUR for the reception of refugees. But while the EU-countries still are in disagreement on how to raise that sum, Erdoğan already stated that this amount of money won’t be enough anyway. However, the closer EU-Turkey collaboration has already had negative effects for refugees in Turkey: Refugee rights organizations stated that “more detention“ and “less reception” was one of the first consequences of the agreement .
On the 18th of November 2015, Slovenia closed its borders for refugees who are not from Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq. Just a little later, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia also adopted this practice of segregation. There is little doubt about that this policy was pushed by the European Union as a starting point for slowing down or even stopping the flow over the Balkan route. Thousands of refugees were stuck in Eidomeni, Greece, and started to protest. The Moving Europe Bus was on the spot and reported live from the 22nd of November to the 11th of December 2015 – when the camp had been evicted. On the 5th of February 2016, we decided to restart our live-ticker as the new year has already seen several attempts from the European Union to slow down the migration movement towards Europe. Macedonia seems to become a key player in this strategy. For several weeks the Macedonian border authorities have slowed down the transit process. The predictable effect of this, given the high arrival numbers to the Greek islands, is that thousands are becoming stuck in Greece. On the 3th of February the Macedonian government announced its plans to strengthen border controls which will further reduce the speed of the transit process. In the meantime, the Greek authorities have established a new buffer zone near to Eidomeni. Since the camp at the border has already become highly overcrowded, there are fears that the violent scenes of last December in Eidomeni will be repeated. Therefore the authorities have decided that people should be kept at bay, at a gas station on the highway that is 20 km far away from the border (at Polykastro). For weeks migrants have had to stay there for hours under miserable conditions. Since the end of January the situation at the Greek border zone has escalated once more. There is only a trickle of people being let through to Macedonia and now people at the gas station have to wait for days before their buses finally leave towards the border. On the 3rd of February 2016 thousands of them decided not to wait any longer at the petrol station and started to walk towards the Macedonian border (#marchofhope 2). Further protests and tensions are to be expected. The Moving Europe Bus is on the spot since the 2nd of February and reports live from Polykastro and Eidomeni.
The long summer of migration has turned into winter. During the first half of 2015, migratory movements opened new ways across the borders of Europe, from the Turkish coasts over the Balkans to Northern Europe. Migration through the Balkans is not a new phenomenon: people denied access to legal routes across borders have long forged their own paths through the region. However, the so-called ‚humanitarian corridor‘, which formed in the interplay of the new paths forged by autonomous movements and governmental responses, began channelling refugees arriving from Turkey on the Greek islands on a state-controlled route over the Balkans to Northern Europe. The paradoxical ‘humanitarian corridor’ developed into a temporary passageway of free movement on the one hand, which has to be seen as a victory, but on the other hand the route quickly became heavily state and police controlled.
On Wednesday, 18th of November, Slovenia closed its borders for refugees who are not from Syria, Afghanistan or Iraq. Just a little later, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia adopted this practice of segregation. There is little doubt, that this policy was pushed by the European Union as a starting point for slowing down or even stopping the flow over the Balkanroute. There is information, that three camps in Athens are in preparation (for refugees, who are not from the mentioned countries). Furthermore, there are indications, that Afghans should be segregated as well and that the Greek-Macedonian border will be closed completely for seven days soon. But all this is not officially confirmed yet. However, thousands of refugees are stuck in Eidomeni at the moment and started to protest. The Moving Europe Bus is at the spot and reports live.
Ein Foto-Essay von Kaveh Rostamkhani mit einem Beitrag von Marc Speer (4.12.2015)
Der „lange Sommer der Migration“ auf dem Balkan ist zugleich Resultat und treibende Kraft hinter etlichen Brüchen. Was passiert, wenn staatliche Kontrollbestrebungen und migrantische Mobilitätsstrategien zusammentreffen und etwas Neues entstehen lassen.
When we heard about the decision of Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia on the 18 th of November to only give access to those coming from either Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan and after getting
reports of the worsening situation at the Greek-Macedonian border, we decided to leave Belgrade heading for Idomeni where at the time of writing at least between 1000 and 2000 migrants are
For those coming by boat from Ayvalık, Turkey, the first thing they might see of Europe is an orange life vest waved at the Greek shore: life vests left behind from those who arrived before them, used as wigwag signals by self-organised helpers. If the arrivals manage to head for such a place, they will find some basic assistance with landing as well as some food, tea, and clothes. Some can’t wait to leave the vessels, even if they get wet. The general feeling of overwhelming relief to be on European soil seems to outweigh the exertions, even if helpers (mostly referred to as “volunteers”) say they often receive people suffering from hypothermia, apathy and weakness, showing signs of trauma. Much has been reported recently about the situation in Lesbos and the nearby island of Chios, where thousands of refugees land each week; and much has been written on the risky passage from Turkey to Greece as a whole. The Empty Cage. Lesbos Arrivals, Turkish Smugglers and EU Migration Politics weiterlesen →
TheMoving Europe bus is a project by Welcome to Europe, Forschungsgesellschaft Flucht und Migration and bordermonitoring.eu. The aims of the bus are to document the situation on the Balkan route, to provide information for people on the move, and to strengthen political networks along the route.