World View: A Train Station in Macedonia Becomes the New European Migrant Choke Point

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • A train station in Macedonia becomes the new European migrant choke point
  • Surging numbers of migrants on EU borders
  • Chinese fear thunderstorms will bring new explosions and death in Tianjin

A train station in Macedonia becomes the new European migrant choke point

Migrants in Gevgelija Macedonia railway station desperately try to get onto train to Serbia (EPA)
Migrants in Gevgelija Macedonia railway station desperately try to get onto train to Serbia (EPA)

The railway station in Gevgelija, Macedonia has become the latest choke point for waves of Middle East migrants escaping violence in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and hoping to establish residence in Europe. The migrants travel from Turkey through Greece to the Gevgelija train station, then take the train to Belgrade, Serbia, and move on to the border with Hungary.

Macedonia and Serbia are NOT part of the European Union’s “Schengen zone,” which permits free travel across borders. However, Hungary IS a Schengen country. So if a migrant can reach Hungary, then he can freely travel to any other Schengen country, such as Germany or France. However, the UK is NOT a Schengen country, so he cannot freely travel there.

As we reported two weeks ago, Hungary is speeding up construction of a 109 mile fence along Hungary’s border with Serbia, to prevent exactly the kind of migrant traffic that’s occurring in Gevgelija. Some 120,000 migrants have crossed from Serbia into Hungary this year alone, and so the government is using prisoners and unemployed people to build the fence as quickly as possible.

Migrants from Syria and Afghanistan travel to Turkey, through Istanbul to Greece, through Greece to Macedonia, where they take the train to Belgrade Serbia, and then walk or hitchhike 100 miles to Hungary's border.
Migrants from Syria and Afghanistan travel to Turkey, through Istanbul to Greece, through Greece to Macedonia, where they take the train to Belgrade Serbia, and then walk or hitchhike 100 miles to Hungary’s border.

Several weeks ago, there were about 1,000 migrants making this trip each day. But ever since Hungary announced the building of the border fence, the number has doubled to 2,000 per day. Now Hungary is planning to send thousands of police officers to the border with Serbia to prevent migrants from entering Hungary.

This is not the only way to the Schengen countries, of course. Hundreds of thousands of migrants travel to Libya, and risk death crossing the Mediterranean, in the hope of being rescued by Italy’s navy. But the path through Turkey to the Gevgelija is completely overland, so many migrants prefer it. Daily Mail (London) and Reuters and Schengen Visa Info

Surging numbers of migrants on EU borders

The number of migrants at the EU’s borders reached a record high of 107,500 in July. This figure was up from 70,000 in June, which was also a record high. Germany has seen a wave of migration from Syria and the Balkans, and now says it could receive as many as 750,000 asylum seekers this year.

Only two EU countries, Germany and Sweden, take in the majority of refugees, but other countries are being pressured to take their share. BBC

Chinese fear thunderstorms will bring new explosions and death in Tianjin

As we reported yesterday, the weather report for Tianjin, China calls for thunderstorms on Wednesday, followed by several days of additional raid. This water could react with the hundreds of tons of deadly sodium cyanide and calcium carbide to produce new explosions and deadly gases.

According to a Twitter tweet (unconfirmed), the USA embassy in Beijing is sending out the following message:

The following unconfirmed text message is said to have originated at the Embassy:

For your information and consideration for action. First rain expected today or tonight. Avoid ALL contact with skin. If on clothing, remove and wash as soon as possible, and also shower yourself. Avoid pets coming into contact with rains, or wet ground, and wash them immediately if they do. Rise umbrellas thoroughly in your bath or shower once inside, following contact with rain. Exercise caution for any rains until all fires in Tianjin are extinguished and for the period 10 days following. These steps are for you to be as safe as possible, since we are not completely sure what might be in the air. Remember the brave firefighters and their families along with all those suffering from the accident in Tianjin. Stand strong together China!

However, officials say that there have been no substantial leaks of sodium cyanide, and that all waterways leading into the sea from the blast site have been sealed off.

As of Tuesday, 50 firefighters were confirmed killed and 52 others were among the 57 missing, making the disaster the deadliest ever for Chinese first-responders. About 1,000 firefighters responded to the disaster.

The Chinese Communist Party has moved rapidly to correct any problems by arresting Yang Dongliang, head of the State Administration of Work Safety. At times like this, it’s good to know that the person causing the problem is no longer at large, and we can all feel safe. AP and Weather Channel and Twitter – DanWatanabe and Radio Free Asia

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Gevgelija, Macedonia, Belgrade, Serbia, Hungary, Turkey, Greece, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Italy, Germany, Balkans, China, Tianjin, sodium cyanide, Yang Dongliang
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