The refugee camp as geopolitics: the case of Preševo (Serbia)

Dragan Umek, Claudio Minca, Danica Šantić

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The emergence of the Balkan Route in 2015 and its development in 2016 has temporarily shifted the geographical axis of the refugee-related migrations, complementing the existing maritime routes in the Mediterranean with new overland itineraries. This shift has caught unprepared not only the main ‘transit countries’ and ‘arrival countries’ but also the EU institutions that until that moment had a system of control (and reception) in place which was almost exclusively focused on the Mediterranean borders. After having been taken by about one million unregistered migrants in 2015, in March 2016 the Balkan Route was officially closed; however, a significant number of people is entering the Serbian territory despite the official impossibility to continue North via Hungary or Croatia. This has led to a high number of stranded migrants in the country that counted for more than 7000 individuals by the end of May 2017. In this paper, by presenting a few key geographical issues related to the creation of some urban makeshift camp, several ‘jungles’ at the border crossings, the distribution of official asylum and reception centres, we focus the attention on the case of Preševo One Step Centre in the southern Serbia. It is not only a fundamental dowel within the European border regime but also represents a strategic knot of the Serbia’s internal political geography. The present research is part of the collaborative project led by the authors, started in mid-2016, as part of a broader project entitled ‘Camps in Europe’.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMediterranean mobilities
Subtitle of host publicationEurope's changing relationships
EditorsMaria Paradiso
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9783319896328
ISBN (Print)9783319896311
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Balkan migration route
  • refugee camps
  • Serbia
  • Preševo
  • geopolitics


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