Montenegro will deploy troops along its borders in response to the growing number of migrants crossing over into the country, on a new Balkan route toward the European Union. Last year, around 8000 migrants from North Africa and the Middle East crossed Montenegro, heading West, toward the richer countries. This number is double that registered in 2018 according to the International Organization for Migration.
“The army will be deployed to protect the state’s borders and assist law enforcement,” the State Council for Security and Defence announced last Friday. The operation is set to take place before the year’s end. The Balkan route of migration toward Western Europe via Turkey, Greece, and the former Yugoslav countries was closed in 2016 by Ankara in exchange for financial compensation from the EU and the promise of removing travel visas for Turkey’s citizens. Both sides partially stuck to the agreement, but odds are it won’t last long.
Montenegro ended up as an alternate route for migrants coming in from Turkey via Greece and Albania, including those stuck in Serbia. At the beginning of the year, Montenegro’s police force decapitated five trafficking networks and arrested 51 suspects. These cells squeezed thousands of euros from people [per individual], promising them in return safe passage to the EU.
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