The Croatian government has sounded an alarm to the rest of the European Union claiming that the Balkan migrant route may reopen in the very near future with 60,000 migrants ready to cross into the political bloc.
The Croatian Interior Ministry has warned that migrants may be gearing up to try a new route through the Balkan states going through Greece to Albania, then Montenegro, Bosnia and into Croatia.
The ministry then called on the European Union (EU) to provide assistance in reinforcing the common external border to prevent a potential humanitarian crisis, Il Giornale reports.
“If they find a weakness here, they will be in trouble,” an anonymous source from the Interior Ministry said. The 60,000 migrant estimate comes from Slovenian police who estimate there to be that many migrants currently between Greece and Albania looking for a safe route to enter the European Union.
In the first four months of 2018, there has been a significant increase in migrants attempting to cross the Croatian border with Slovenia. 1,266 migrants have attempted the crossing during that time period, up 280 per cent from last year.
Along with the estimated 60,000 migrants already in the Balkans, the number of migrants crossing from Turkey into Greece has also increased dramatically this year.
Dimitris Mavrides, mayor of Orestiada, a town along the Greco-Turkish land border, warned: “Our reception facilities are overwhelmed and things are on the verge of spinning out of control. Far more are coming than are actually being registered.”
Another major factor that has the potential to spark a new migrant crisis is the recent proposal by the Greek government to allow migrants held on islands in the Aegean the ability to travel freely to the mainland.
The proposal comes after NGOs and other groups have pressured the government over severe overcrowding issues on the islands which have led to violence in several cases.