May 20, 2018 / 10:18 AM / in a month

Montenegro may build fence on Albanian border to stop migrants

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Montenegro, seeing a rise in the number of migrants passing through the country on a new route to the European Union, is considering building a razor wire fence on its border with Albania to stem the flow, a government official said on Sunday.

Thousands of migrants from the Middle East and North Africa are taking their chance to reach wealthier European countries after smugglers created a new Balkan route running from Greece via Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia to EU member Croatia.

Bosnia is already coping with thousands of migrants who were stranded after a route via Turkey, Greece, Macedonia and Serbia was shut in 2016, when Turkey agreed to stop the flow in return for EU aid and other concessions.

“In the case of a greater influx of migrants, we may raise a razor wire fence on the border with Albania,” Vojislav Dragovic, the head of Montenegro’s department for state border supervision, told state television.

He said Albanian authorities had often refused to accept migrants turned back from Montenegro under their bilateral re-admission agreement.

Many countries on the migrant route have secured their borders with physical barriers. Hungary put up a razor wire fence on its borders with Serbia and Croatia during the crisis in 2015, when more than a million migrants came to Europe.

Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Mark Potter

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