European states raise fences, close borders and bring military forces to protect their borders from the massive refugee and migrant inflow.
On Thursday, about 200 Austrian soldiers and police officers conducted a joint operation on Austria‘s border with Slovenia in order to test the readiness to repel a large numbers of migrants. The exercise involved five military helicopters carrying aid. Although officially there are no recorded incidents to the Austrian border with migrants, Vienna is preparing for every eventuality.
At the same time, Bulgarian Army forces remain permanently at the country’s borders while the government has implemented a new law on border protection. Earlier this month Bulgaria held the “Borders 2016” exercise with the participation of 400 army and police officers. Moreover, the country has erected a 30 km fence on the border with Turkey to stop refugees.
Similar exercises were held a few days ago in the Czech Republic with the participation of 200 police officers and 20 customs officers. The aim of the exercise, according to Czech authorities, is to test police readiness in case of massive violations of the country’s border with Austria. The Czech authorities state that such a scenario is likely if Austria permanently closed the border with Germany.
Hungary maintains the hardest line across Europe. Prime Minister Viktor Orban sealed the country’s borders and does not accept any refugees. Hungary has raised a fence on the southern border with Serbia and Croatia, and has announced the creation of a new fence at the border with Romania.
A new fence on the border with Austria and Hungary in order to block all refugees to enter its territory was announced by Slovakia.
Slovenia hardens its stance as exercises in tighter border controls are carried out by the country’s armed forces. Slovenia is building a wire fence on its 643 km border with Croatia. Slovenia’s announcement caused a “domino effect,” because Serbia made it clear that it will not open its borders for any migrant without legal documents from neighboring Bulgaria or Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
FYROM is also expanding the fence and is beefing up army patrols on its border with Greece and block refugees gathered at Idomeni.
Also, Italy and Albania agreed to hold joint patrols at the Greek-Albanian border to block refugee flows after the closure of the Balkan route. The patrols are expected to start on Saturday. Rome appears worried that after the closing of the Balkan route refugees will find passage from Albania to the Adriatic Sea and then into Italian territory.
Also, after the terrorist attacks in Paris last November, France has closed its borders and has placed them under army control.
Belgium is concerned with the decision of French authorities to close Calais and there is fear that there will be a wave refugees in Belgian territory wishing to cross to Britain. Thereby, Brussels decided to close the border with France. According to the Belgian government, the checks will continue as long as necessary. Approximately 290 Belgian police officers patrol the Franco-Belgian border and expel refugees.
Border controls and fences have been announced by Baltic States as well in fear that they will be the new route for the refugee flows after the closing of the Balkan route. Latvia and Estonia started work on constructing a fence at the border with Russia.
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