The crisis in Syria unleashed debates that have remained untouched for many years now. Balkan countries, after witnessing the massive migration coming from the east, are now thinking whether or not it might be a good idea to close their borders so that they are not faced with pressure that they cannot or, better said, should not face under the current circumstances.
Balkan countries are the first ones any migrant needs to pass before getting to the west and, since there are so many people who pass through them, it is inevitable that many of them remain in these countries if not allowed to pass further. There are three main issues at stake and every country needs to think about them, how and if they have to help migrants.
Firstly, it’s the question of morality. There are many people who think that these people should stay or pass. A crisis in their own country is indeed a difficult situation, if threatened with death it is even worse, so as long as we can help protect them from an imminent danger that they do not want and give them shelter, it is an effort that we have to make.
Then there is the political matter. Legally speaking, no foreign citizen is simply allowed to pass or remain in any country. They must undergo specific verifications and approval that they are granted to remain within a foreign country’s borders. The majority of migrants treat this moving through countries and establishing wherever they want matter as a right or special privilege. Morally, it is, but politically it is not at all. If a country’s population does not want you there, you are not allowed to be there.
Last, but not least, we should consider who the migrants who are invading the Balkans really are. In Syria’s case for instance, these are not the poor people who are starving and who want to get away from death. Travelling from Syria to Western Europe costs money and these people are those who have the money to do so. The poor people are left in Turkish camps and they will probably remain there for the rest of their lives.
So now it is easy to see why the crisis in Syria unleashed debates and why Balkan countries want to casually close their doors. The Slovenian president declared that the country “would act on its own before it’s too late”, the International Organization of Migration declared that approximately 9000 people invaded Greece last week, things are happening and these countries will not allow them to happen just like that.
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