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The “Not Entirely Closed” Western Balkan Route: The Impact on Rights and the Rule of Law

Irregular migrant arrivals to the European Union through the Western Balkans have fallen to a trickle over the last year, leading governments and the EU institutions to hail the closure of the route. As borders closed across the region, however, thousands of people have found themselves trapped in countries lacking the capacity to provide functioning asylum systems or engaged in multiple attempts to cross borders, where they are often met with violence. In the lead-up to and during the clampdown on the migration corridor, EU and member state representatives were active in many countries, in some cases apparently condoning abusive practices and/or supporting governments who were contributing to stemming the flow.

This event will shed light on the situation along the Western Balkans’ migration route, as well as provide an opportunity for experts to analyze how the migration crisis and the European Union’s response to it in the region has had an impact on international protection space in the Balkans; democracy and the rule of law more broadly, particularly in Serbia and Macedonia; and has been exploited by local political actors to consolidate their power and/or to achieve their own objectives.


  • GL

    Giulia Laganà


    Giulia Laganà is the senior EU migration and asylum analyst of the Open Society European Policy Institute.

  • SC

    Srdjan Cvijic


    Srdjan Cvijic is a senior analyst in the EU External Policy Team of the Open Society European Policy Institute.

  • Magdalena Majkowska-Tomkin

    Magdalena Majkowska-Tomkin


    Magdalena Majkowska-Tomkin is the division director migration and inclusion of the Open Society Initiative for Europe.

  • JB

    Jelen Bjelica


    Jelena Bjelica is analyst/donor relations focal point of the Afghanistan Analysts Network.

  • SK

    Simonida Kacarska


    Simonida Kacarska is director of the European Policy Institute Skopje.

  • AK

    Asja Korbar


    Asja Korbar is the head of development for Are you Syrious?

  • AL

    András Léderer


    András Léderer is an advocacy officer of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee.

  • SM

    Sena Marić


    Sena Marić is research associate of the Asylum Protection Center.

  • BW

    Bodo Weber


    Bodo Weber is senior associate of the Democratization Policy Council.

  • EZ

    Eszter Zalan


    Eszter Zalan is a correspondent for EUobserver.

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