After his meeting Tuesday to discuss EU-Western Balkans cooperation in the area of migration, security, and border management with his Western Balkans counterparts as well as with European Commissioners Dimitris Avramopoulos and Julian King, Interior Minister Oliver Spasovski said that Macedonia is firmly against setting up refugee camps on its soil.
“Macedonia has been clear on this issue,” Minister Spasovski said. “Ours are short-term refugee transit centers. We don’t see a reason to change this. We can cooperate in the mutual defense against a possible migrant wave, but we cannot agree to build long-term refugee camps on Macedonian soil.”
Denmark and Austria, which is taking over the rotating European presidency on July 1, recently said that refugee camps for people denied asylum in the EU could be built ‘in Europe, but outside of the EU.’ Diplomatic sources from the two countries hinted that this could mean the Balkans.
European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos told the press that this topic was not addressed at Tuesday’s meeting.
“If we receive a proposal, we will discuss it. As of now, it’s just an idea and not an official proposal,” Avramopoulos said.
The migrant crisis is the greatest challenge EU member countries are facing at the moment, possibly due to their difficulties in reaching consensus on how to deal with the problem.