From: Alice Taylor
Humanitarian Crisis at Greek Border Concludes, New Protocols in Place for Albanians Wishing to Cross from Today

Following an agreement between Greek and Albanian authorities, the 20-plus km long queues at the Kakavija crossing have been dispersed.

Thousands of Albanians returning to Greece found themselves stranded at the border for over four days. Greek customs were responsible for the holdup due to slow processing times caused by COVID-19 protocols and the fact they did not work in the evening.

Last night, the Greeks agreed to work after 22:00 to clear the backlog of citizens and some 3000 were allowed to cross the border. As of today, 750 will be allowed to cross at the Kakavija crossing point and 350 at the Kapshtica crossing point. 

These citizens must have a negative COVID-19 test from a government licensed laboratory and be prepared to quarantine for seven days. The test certificate must be translated into English and include the name, surname and passport or identity card number. They must also have completed the PLF form from the Greek government website.

During the almost five day standoff, a 10-year-old boy was killed by a speeding ambulance as he was queuing for the border. He and his family had been waiting for two days.

Director of the General Directorate of Road Transport Services, Blendi Gonxhja wrote a statement on social media blaming the mother of the boy for his death, adding that she “doesn’t care as a parent”. He also said the border crisis was the fault of the immigrants. He deleted the statement after widespread outrage.

Prime Minister Edi Rama tweeted about the situation from his holiday, saying that queues are the same in all Greek borders at this time. An article was then published on the government website claiming that there were queues at the border between Bulgaria and Greece, but it in fact referred to a 5km queue that happened on 1 August and was quickly resolved.