Kurz: If necessary, refugee camps will be built in Macedonia


In the coming weeks, Austria will reach its limit for taking refugees for the year (37,500) and will close the border said Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said at a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki.

“Austria is a member of the three countries along with Germany and Sweden, who take in the most refugees. Our decisions will have consequences for the countries on the Balkan route, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia”, said Kurz, adding that Macedonia will have to completely handle the tide of refugees.

Austrian Minister said that Macedonia will be faced with a difficult task, but that Austria would give support by sending police, troops and equipment to deal with the crisis.

When asked by journalists whether new refugee camps would be built, Kurz said that it would depend on how many refugees will arrive.

“It depends of the policies of countries, if necessary camps in Greece and Macedonia will be built to keep refugees” said Kurz.

Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki said that Macedonia is taking steps in two directions and that is to prevent illegal entry and the registration of refugees.

When asked how many refugees Macedonia is prepared to receive, Poposki said it depends on the decisions that will be adopted by the remaining EU countries.

“How many enter depends on how many refugees will be received by Member States of the EU. It also depends on how much we miss. Looking at the figures mathematically speaking, we will get more of an idea once Austria, Germany and Sweden together decide how many refugees they’ll accept”, Poposki said, adding that authorities in dealing with the refugee crisis only use funds from the taxpayers of Macedonia and bilateral assistance from countries such as Austria.

Poposki stressed that the country needs people in uniform who know how to provide the borders with safety, and with equipment. He stressed that no matter which country officers and soldiers will come from, the main command will be in Macedonia.

“The Macedonian authorities are the Macedonian territory owners”, said Poposki, adding that any further measures Macedonian authorities take, will be taken in coordination with decisions of Germany, Austria and other Member States.

At the meeting they also discussed the political crisis in Macedonia, where Kurz stressed the importance of respecting and implementing the Przhino Agreement, as well as providing free and democratic elections. He added that Austria could send observers for elections.The two ministers signed an action plan that provides for improved economic cooperation, assistance in the form of the training of young diplomats and the modernization of public administration, and also Austrian aid in the European integration of Macedonia, resolving the name dispute, and support for improving good neighbourly relations solving bilateral disputes in Macedonia.

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