North Macedonia: Nearly 400 migrants prevented from entering
Police in North Macedonia said Sunday that nearly 400 migrants have been prevented from entering illegally into the country from neighboring Greece in the past four days during a joint operation led by the European Union’s law enforcement agency, Europol.
Police said in a statement that a total of 389 migrants, most of them from Syria and Afghanistan, were pushed back to Greece from Oct 25 to Oct 29 after having been spotted in the border area between the two countries.
North Macedonia’s interior minister Oliver Spasovski said in an interview to local TV “Sitel” that during the first nine months of 2022, attempts to cross illegally from Greece increased by 7% compared to the same period last year.
According to the police, the Balkan route for migrants toward more prosperous European Union countries to the north has become more active again this year as many Balkan countries lifted travel restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Police said the Europol-led operation, named “Action Days – JAD 2022 – Southeast Europe” was carried out to crack down on illicit firearms and drug trade, as well as illegal migration. Several Western Balkan countries, in addition to EU members, took part in the operation. Agents from the bloc’s border protection agency Frontex were also involved.