Macedonia is further limiting the criteria for people allowed passage at the border with Greece.
Authorities confirmed they will deny entry to Syrian and Iraqi asylum seekers who declare the intention to reach Western Europe because of family reunification, education and to avoid military recruitment in their country of origin.
The Macedonian police confirmed that those who stayed for more than 30 days in ‘safe third countries’ like Turkey and Greece are also not anymore allowed to cross into Macedonia.
Only Syrian and Iraqi citizens who declare during an interview with the police that they are fleeing war, and seeking asylum are now permitted to pass into Macedonia.
The Macedonian police confirmed today that more new rules for selecting which asylum seekers can enter Macedonia and proceed further along the Balkan Route are in force immediately.
The police will assess which asylum seekers can enter Macedonia during a 30-minutes long interview at the border crossing in Gevgelija.
Police teams from the Czech Republic and Austria, assisted by interpreters, are conducting the interviews. Macedonian police are present as observers.
Those refused after the interviews face immediate deportation to Greece.
Macedonian authorities will deny entry to Syrians and Iraqis declaring that they want to reunite with their families that are already in Austria, Germany or in other EU countries.
Recruitment in the army in the country of origin is also now not considered a valid reason to be admitted in Macedonia and to proceed northwards.
Syrians and Iraqis will be also pushed back to Greece if they state that they want to reach Western Europe to continue their education or to give better education to their children.
The new rules were agreed at a meeting of the police chiefs of Austria, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia, organized to “improve the system of joint registration of refugees”, Reuters reported.
The Belgrade conference followed a meeting in Zagreb, on February 19, where the police heads of Austria and Balkan Route nations agreed on measures to further reduce to number of refugees along the route.
Since February 20 Macedonia is allowing only small numbers of Syrian and Iraqi citizens to cross the border. Afghans are not being allowed to enter Macedonia.