News 04 Jun 13

Number of Balkan Asylum Seekers to EU Falls

A report by the European Commission notes that the number of asylum seekers from the Western Balkans has dropped.

Besar Likmeta
BIRN
Tirana

According to the third biannual report on the functioning of the EU's Schengen area, the overall number of asylum applications by people from the Western Balkans in the top five EU/Schengen states decreased by 44 per cent in January 2013 compared to the same month in 2012.

The number from Serbia fell by 61 per cent, Montenegro by 45 per cent and Macedonia by 46 per cent.

However, "there was a considerable increase of asylum seekers from Albania (+74%) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (+51%),” the report adds.  

The top destination countries for asylum seekers continue to be Germany, followed by Sweden, Belgium, Switzerland and Luxemburg.

In December 2009, the European Union lifted visa requirements on Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro, allowing their citizens to travel freely into the EU's so-called Schengen zone.

The issue of mass migration and asylum is a worrying one for the region, as it endangers the liberalized visa arangements that these countries have with the EU.

 

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