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Migration crisis: Plan for reinforced border north of Greece

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By Euronews
Migration crisis: Plan for reinforced border north of Greece
  • Visegrad group calls for new border fence north of Greece
  • Plan B is response to chaotic EU migration policy
  • Proposal could split Schengen zone

Members of the so-called Visegrad group which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, are calling for a reinforced border north of Greece to help stop the flood of migrants into Europe.

Leaders from Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are proposing to create a second fence along FYROM’s and Bulgaria’s borders with Greece. (Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia FYROM).

Critics say the plan is controversial as it effectively means eliminating Greece from the Schengen zone, Europe’s 26-nation passport-free travel region.

Poland’s prime minister Beata Szydlo took issue with this saying the plan was not aimed against any particular European Union member. Instead it was intended as part of a joint initiative within the whole of the European Union, with the group calling for further actions to assist the Balkan states as the bloc tries to find complementary solutions within the EU.

At Monday’s meeting, leaders from the four nations were joined by Macedonian (FYROM) President Gjorge Ivanov and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov so they can push for the reinforcements along Greece’s northern border. Macedonia began putting up a first fence in November, and is now constructing a second, parallel, fence.

After the meeting in Prague, Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orban said his country is ready to help “those countries that are ready to create a second defensive line south of Hungary.”

The ex-communist EU member states have been criticised in the past as countries that have benefited greatly from EU subsidies and freedom of movement for their own citizens but which now balk at requests to accept even small numbers of refugees.

The Visegrad nations maintain it is impossible to integrate Muslims into their societies, often describing them as security threats. So far the Poles, Czechs and Slovaks have only accepted small numbers of refugees, primarily Christians from Syria.

The group’s plan comes after months of what it sees as the EU’s chaotic response to the migration crisis and the inability of Greece to protect the bloc’s southern border. The plan will be presented at this week’s crucial EU summit.