BELGRADE – FYROM (Macedonia) is again opening up its borders to refugees who wish to pass through its territory to seek asylum in Austria or Germany, the country’s interior ministry announced Thursday.

Illustration - Photo: TANJUG / FOTO HINA / DAMIR SENCAR
Illustration – Photo: TANJUG / FOTO HINA / DAMIR SENCAR

On Wednesday, Macedonia temporarily shut its borders to refugees after receiving a corresponding request from the Slovenian government. Serbia then shut its borders to everyone apart from those who stated they would seek asylum in Germany and Austria, leading to a situation where several hundred people found themselves effectively trapped in Macedonia.

“The first group of migrants will be taken by train to [the Serbian border], another train is expected today which will go to [the Greek border]. The border authorities state that all refugees who are nationals of Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria can cross the Serbian border,” the Macedonian Interior Ministry said in a statement, as quoted by the Plusinfo portal.

Last year saw an unprecedented wave of migration to Europe, with over one million migrants arriving to European shores, according to International Organization for Migration data. Over 1.5 million illegal border crossings were detected by the EU border agency Frontex between the beginning of 2015 and mid-December.