Macedonia to raise fence to keep out refugees

Macedonia to build fence in order to prevent advent of refugees trying to pass to Western Europe

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Syrian refugee kisses his child while crossing the Greek-Macedonian boarder

Foreign Minister of Macedonia Nikola Poposki has announced he will build a border fence to keep the enormous flow of refugees, trying to pass through the Balkans, outside the borders.

The country is following Hungary’s strategy towards the refugee issue. Even so, the refugees seem to be determined to continue their journey as some 4,000 of them walk through Macedonia in harsh weather conditions and police violence.

Poposki made a statement about the border fence on Friday.

“We too will need some kind of physical defence to reduce illegal border crossing... Either soldiers or a fence or a combination of the two,” Poposki told the Hungarian business weekly Figyelo.

The border is currently under pressure after the minister’s decision.

“Macedonian border police had blocked their path and frustrations grew once more," said reporter Hoda Abdel Hamid from Al Jazeera. "This is not first time for the Macedonian border guards to use force.”

The refugees are mainly fleeing war and poverty conditions in Middle East, Africa and South Asia, to a better future risking their lives everyday aiming at passing to European countries. Confronting a very challenging journey mainly in the sea fearing for their children’s lives, they decide to take the risk.

Bassem, a Syrian refugee and his family are among those who try to pass through the borders.

"We know it's going to be difficult here, we know some don’t want us, but it’s still much better than Syria," Bassem told Al Jazeera.

Macedonia is the passage to Greece, Germany, Hungary and Serbia. More than 160,000 refugees have crossed through the country to Serbia and Hungary. Germany has welcomed about 450,000 since January.

However, the influx of refugees arriving at the Balkans is so big that emergency was declared. Hungary is also struggling to cope with the flow of asylum seekers as it is not able to stop the refugees from passing.


TRTWorld and agencies