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.
- Jelena Bjelica is analyst/donor relations focal point of the Afghanistan Analysts Network.
- Srdjan Cvijic is a senior analyst in the EU External Policy Team of the Open Society European Policy Institute.
- Simonida Kacarska is director of the European Policy Institute Skopje.
- Asja Korbar is the head of development for Are you Syrious?
- Giulia Laganà is the senior EU migration and asylum analyst of the Open Society European Policy Institute.
- András Léderer is an advocacy officer of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee.
- Magdalena Majkowska-Tomkin is the division director migration and inclusion of the Open Society Initiative for Europe.
- Sena Marić is research associate of the Asylum Protection Center.
- Bodo Weber is senior associate of the Democratization Policy Council.
- Eszter Zalan is a correspondent for EUobserver.
To RSVP for this event, please contact [email protected].