The New Balkan Route

Along the new migration route through southeastern Europe, migrants are beaten, stranded, and neglected, while the EU looks the other way.

Via Jacobin Magazine – Bosnia and Herzegovina, a small country in the Balkans, is one of the poorest in Europe. Since February, it’s been dealing with an unprecedented wave of migration. The so-called Balkan Route, used by migrants to reach Western Europe from Turkey and Greece, has changed. Previously, this route went across Bulgaria or Macedonia, then Serbia and Hungary, before heading toward Germany or Austria, depending on where people were hoping to end up.

However, Hungary, under Viktor Orbán’s nationalist government, has succeeded in sealing off its borders via heavy surveillance and police brutality against migrants. The route has thus shifted towards the south, crossing Albania, Montenegro, and then Bosnia, where thousands of migrants are now gathering.

Along with Massimo Veneziani of the Italian broadcaster Rai 3, I recently travelled across the new Balkan Route from Ioannina, northern Greece, to Valika Kladuša, the northernmost Bosnian town, close to the Croatian border. Ioannina is the capital and largest city of Greece’s northwestern Epirus region. The Albanian border is only an hour’s drive away, so all the migrants who want to travel from Greece throughout the Balkans start their journey from here.

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