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Rapporteur to ‘trace route’ recently taken by refugees and migrants through Western Balkans

Tineke Strik (Netherlands, SOC), who prepared a recent report for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on migration “countries of transit”, is to see at first hand the situation of refugees and migrants crossing Europe during a three-day visit (10-13 November) taking in three national frontiers and countries (“the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, Serbia and Slovenia).

Following the “Western Balkans” route north towards the EU, she will talk to refugees and migrants who are still on the road; visit reception, registration, accommodation and medical facilities that have been set up for them at borders; and meet the national authorities trying to cope with these flows, as well as UNHCR staff, local NGOs and volunteers.

On Tuesday 10 November, she will visit reception facilities on the border between “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and Greece.

On Wednesday 11 November, she will meet national authorities in Skopje in the morning, before travelling north to visit the border between “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and Serbia.

On Thursday 12 November, she will meet representatives of the national authorities in Belgrade.

On Friday 13 November, she is due to meet authorities in Ljubljana, before visiting the border between Slovenia and Austria.

The visit comes just over a month after the Assembly adopted a resolution on “Countries of transit: meeting new migration and asylum challenges” which urged the EU to end “push-back” practices, modify its existing policy of “externalising” border controls and embrace a “holistic, rights-based” approach to countries of transit and origin.