European Union member states have sent border guards, police vehicles and fingerprinting machines to Macedonia, which isn't a member of the bloc. The goal: to squeeze the river of people still streaming north from Greece toward Germany into a trickle, turning away all but those from war-torn countries such as Syria and Iraq.

The mounting restrictions are buying German Chancellor Angela Merkel time as she asks voters for patience and lobbies fellow EU leaders to implement what she promises will be a comprehensive solution to the migration crisis.

Ms. Merkel wants Turkey to dismantle smuggling networks that bring migrants across the Aegean Sea to Greece, and she wants Greece to set up large registration camps that would allow recognized refugees to be settled across the EU.


Mounting political pressure around Europe to cut the numbers arriving, coupled with security fears about potential terrorists using the migrant trail, is leading to measures that could effectively redraw Europe's border at the Balkans.

In Macedonia, a small, impoverished ex-Yugoslav republic, officials warn that European governments are discussing a Plan B that would have the Macedonian-Greek border sealed off entirely, with the help of EU and Balkan countries further north.

"We aren't three months away, but weeks" from cutting off Greece, Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki said in an interview. "Actually, this is the second-worst option, because the worst option isn't doing anything, and then each of the [EU] member states would be sealing off its own borders," he said.


Some countries, notably Italy, are worried that shutting the Greek-Macedonian border might only open up new migration routes, with the most likely being a sea crossing from Greece or Albania to Italy. However, overall numbers would likely fall, diplomats believe.

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