Austria’s Foreign Minister Defends Closing Borders to Deter Migrants

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Austria’s foreign minister says closing the so-called “Balkan route” to migrants seeking to reach central and northern Europe was the right move.

Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz held talks with his Macedonian counterpart, Nikola Poposki, on Sunday. He told reporters afterward that closing borders to deter migrants has become an accepted practice despite initial criticism.

Earlier, Kurz visited a refugee camp in the town of Gevgelija, on Macedonia’s southern border with Greece. He praised Macedonia’s role in securing European borders.

On Monday, he is scheduled to tour a similar camp in the country’s northern border with Serbia.

Before the Balkan route was shut in March 2016, over 1 million refugees and other migrants had traveled through Macedonia on their way to wealthier EU members. About 200 remain stranded in Macedonia.


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