05:34 GMT +321 July 2019
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    Children play during heavy winds at a makeshift camp for migrants and refugees at the Greek-Macedonian border near the village of Idomeni, Greece, April 11, 2016.

    Migrants Could Choose Russia, Finland, Central Asia as Route to Europe

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    Makis Voridis, a former Greek minister for infrastructure, transport and networks, said that the migration issue, including NATO’s mission to counter criminal networks smuggling refugees into Europe across the Aegean Sea would be discussed at the upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw.

    TBILISI (Sputnik) — Migrants discouraged from traveling to Europe using traditional routes in light of tougher border policies and the migrant swap deal between Brussels and Ankara may be forced to find another route to Europe through the Central Asia, Russia, Finland or the Balkan states, a member of the Greek New Democracy Party and of the country's delegation to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) told Sputnik.

    On July 1, the EU border agency Frontex said in a report that the number of undocumented migrants crossing into Europe through the Western Balkan route fell by 84 percent in the first quarter of 2016, which was linked to more restrictive measures being implemented at a regional level and the closure of the Western Balkan transit corridor.

    "There is a decrease in a number of the undocumented migrants. Probably, up to a certain point migrants have understood that they cannot pass to Europe so [it] may force them to find another route from the North. They will try to arrive through the Central Asia, Russia and Finland or the Baltic states," Makis Voridis, a former minister for infrastructure, transport and networks, said on the sidelines of the OSCE PA annual meeting underway in Tbilisi, Georgia on July 1-5.

    Voridis added that the route from the north would prove to be very difficult but that migrants could still risk it.

    Vordis also stressed that the migration issue, including NATO’s mission to counter criminal networks smuggling refugees into Europe across the Aegean Sea would be discussed at the upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw.

    "The decision of NATO to be involved in control of migratory flows through countering criminal networks smuggling refugees into Europe across the Aegean Sea will be evaluated at the summit," the Greek parliamentarian said.

    Europe is currently facing a major refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of migrants attempting to reach wealthy EU member states through various routes, including via Italy, Greece, Turkey and the Balkan states. Despite Brussels' efforts to curb the migration influx, many people still continue to attempt to reach the European Union.


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