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Austrian Minister Says Balkan Migrant Route 'Should Become History'

© AFP 2021 / Louisa Gouliamaki A child plays on a rail track at the Greek-Macedonian border near the village of Idomeni where thousands of migrants and refugees are stranded on March 7, 2016.
A child plays on a rail track at the Greek-Macedonian border near the village of Idomeni where thousands of migrants and refugees are stranded on March 7, 2016. - Sputnik International
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The decision by western Balkan nations to shut their borders to put an end to the migrant route to northern Europe was correct and should remain in force permanently, Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said Thursday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Balkan route, used by undocumented migrants to travel through Greece and Macedonia to wealthier EU states, was closed after Monday's EU-Turkey summit.

"My position is clear, 'the Balkan route' will remain closed permanently. The huge uncontrolled [migrant] flow taking this route should become history," Mikl-Leitner told German Die Welt newspaper in an interview.

Migrants and refugees are seen aboard a Turkish fishing boat as they arrive on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing a part of the Aegean Sea from theTurkish coast to Lesbos October 11, 2015 - Sputnik International
Austrian Chancellor to Refugees: ‘It Makes No Sense to Get on Boat'
European Council President Donald Tusk said on Friday that 880,000 migrants used the route in 2015 to enter the European Union and 128,000 migrants entered the bloc through the Balkans in the first two months of 2016.

In February, Austria was the first European country to place daily limits on the number of people who can enter their territory and the number of asylum applications to process per month.

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