As the flow of refugees streaming into Europe continues more countries are tightening their respective border controls – The Netherlands being the latest example, adding more monitors.
In September the Dutch government deployed mobile guard units along roadways and rail lines in an attempt to separate the migrants from the refugees who could rightly seek asylum.
“Those measures helped, but we were still seeing a rising number of smugglers being arrested, and you are seeing more people coming from safe countries, who aren’t eligible for asylum,” said state secretary Klaas Dijkhoff.
By slowing down traffic as it crossed the border authorities will be better able to spot vehicles they want to investigate more closely, he said.
The Netherlands, with nearly 17 million people, took in 200,000 immigrants last year, which helped generate a backlash in a country known for its relatively open door policy.
Border police arrested 330 people last year on suspicion of people smuggling, 200 of those arrests were made by mobile border police units.
Those who had filed asylum claims in other countries, or were from safe countries, as designated by the EU, are to be told there is no point in continuing on.
He insisted that the aim was not to reimpose border controls.
“We want to reach a deal with Greece and Turkey to close the borders,” he said, “but until that happens we will have to take our own measures.”
After meeting Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, Hungary’s nationalist President Viktor Orban reiterated on Monday his long-sought goal to close Greece’s northern border
Migration “must be stopped,” he said, and renewed his call for a “European defense line” on the northern borders of Greece, Macedonia and Bulgaria to end the influx of people.
But as the Dutch example shows it is no longer just right-wing nationalists such as Orban, who are determined to stop the flow of humanity into Europe. Austrian foreign minister Sebastian Kurz said his country would not be able to take the same amount of migrants this year – 90,000 – as they took in in 2015.
Speaking in the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, Kurz said, “Macedonia is ready to accept the help of the European Union. This is unfortunately not happening in Greece.”
He said the EU offer of support to Greece was rejected by Athens.
Indeed, Macedonia said it’s reinforcing its border barriers, according to an unnamed army official.
“Preparations are underway to build a second row of barbed wire and metal fencing,” he said “five meters behind the existing fence.”