Members of the Serbian army and police force escort migrants who were caught crossing the border between Serbia and Macedonia. |PHOTO: ARCHIVE/EPA/DJORDJE SAVIC
Members of the Serbian army and police force escort migrants who were caught crossing the border between Serbia and Macedonia. |PHOTO: ARCHIVE/EPA/DJORDJE SAVIC

Serbian authorities said migrant flows into the country from the Balkan route are increasing again. Official figures put the daily number of migrants entering the country between 80 and 100.

Migrant flows into Serbia have intensified in recent weeks, the majority from North Macedonia. Rados Djurovic, executive director of the Asylum Protection Center, told Serbian state news agency Tanjug, that as attempts to cross illegally towards EU countries increase, the risks for migrants on the Balkan route also increase. This, despite the official closure of borders following the large numbers of people attempting the so-called Balkan route in 2015-2016. 

Daily arrivals between 80-100 

Djurovic said between 80 and 100 migrants enter Serbia daily. He said some of them elect to be hosted by migrant reception centers in the country, but the vast majority continue their journey northwest any way they can - by train, bus, on foot, or often with the help of traffickers and criminal gangs. 

"You can often see them not far from the highway as they walk towards Belgrade," Djurovic said. He added that there is also an increase in the number of attempts to illegally cross the border by hiding in lorries and vans near the border crossings. "The situation is serious and many are risking their lives," he explained. 

Problems if situation worsens 

With the growing number of illegal crossings, the number of migrants who get sent back to Serbia is also increasing. Migrants get sent back after they become blocked in Croatia, Hungary, or Bosnia-Herzegovina. Djurovic said Serbia's reception capacity is currently able to handle the growing inflow of migrants, but there could be problems if the situation becomes worse over the coming months. 
 

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