Conditions at the Idomeni refugee camp in northern Greece worsened Saturday after Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia and Slovenia announced a daily arrival cap of 580 people. There are 25,000 refugees in Greece, with more than 5,000 refugees in the Idoemni camp alone, Agence France-Presse reported.
Greece is currently embroiled in a dispute with bordering countries regarding the acceptance of refugees. Approximately 111,000 refugees have arrived in Greece since the beginning of the year. Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos said Saturday Europe “can’t be indifferent to those of our partners who don’t respect their obligations,” AFP reported. The limitations have stranded 5,500 refugees at the Idomeni camp with an additional 800 people at a camp 12 miles away. Some 437 other refugees arrived in Greece Saturday.
Around 400 people protested at the Idomeni crossing Saturday while 200 people protested in Athens at the Austrian embassy. Chants by protesters focused on opening the borders and ending the war in Syria.
Only 100 refugees from the Idomeni camp were able to cross into Macedonia Thursday, the Associated Press reported. Despite 4,900 people waiting at the border Friday, the country did not accept any.
Prior to the daily quota announcements by the four Balkan countries, Austria announced a daily acceptance limit of 3,200 refugees and 80 asylum claims Feb. 19 after the country claimed Greece was not properly policing the border. The European Union rebuked Austria for its asylum quota, with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker saying the move violated EU and international laws. Greece recalled its ambassador from Vienna Friday.
Most of the refugees arriving in Greece are fleeing from war in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. By gaining entry into Europe, the refugees are looking for safety and opportunities for their families. "Our house is destroyed, and salaries in some places stopped. ... I think all the people ... seek the shelter and education for their kids," Rana, an English teacher from Syria, told AP.