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Balkan visitors

theeconomistAsylum-seekers in Serbia and Kosovo

THERE is something odd about seeing Afghans and Somalis stumbling about in the snow in western Serbia. Ivorians and Congolese are no less exotic in Kosovo. In fact, they are just some of the thousands of illegal migrants pouring through the western Balkans in a desperate search for a better life in the more prosperous countries of the European Union.

In the new edition of The Economist I report on the illegal crossing of tens of thousands of migrants across the Greek border with Turkey. In the past many found work in Greece or were able to procure mostly fake documents which could get them into other countries. A favoured practice was to get oneself smuggled on to a lorry at Patras or Igoumenitsa and head for a ferry to Italy.


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