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The forgotten Balkan Route

The forgotten Balkan Route
By Euronews
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Many are stranded in bottlenecks on the Balkan borders as they try to travel on to Western Europe


Velika Kladusa. A flashpoint on the now re-opened Balkans route for migrants making their way to Europe.

This tiny town in northwestern Bosnia has become a bottleneck for those blocked from moving on to Croatia, Slovenia and further afield.

The Balkan route was officially closed in 2016 when the EU and Turkey struck a deal after thousands used the route to get from Greece through the Balkan countries and on to Western Europe.

For those stuck here, there is frustration and despair.

"Just open the way, we need to go to Italy, Italy France, Germany. We don’t go to Slovenia and stay, or to Croatia and stay," said one man.

"Please, Merkel open the border, we can’t” cried another, addressing his plea to the German chancellor.

It is estimated a thousand people are sleeping rough in the local park and a makeshift camp.

Many of those living here say they feel overwhelmed.

"Because bad things are starting to happen. Because they [the migrants] are devastated, especially, one night it was a murder, then one night a knife, a fight and we are getting scared," said student Una Liajic.

“All eyes are on Brussels as European leaders convene to talk about migration in the Mediterranean. But here in Velika Kladusa in Bosnia they feel forgotten as a new trail is being carved out on the Balkan Route. This tiny town has become a new bottleneck for migrants blocked from moving on through Croatia and Slovenia and frustration is growing and tensions are running high. Jorgen Samso for Euronews, in Velika Kladusa, Bosnia”

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