Home Page
 
News 14 Nov 12

Calls Grow in Germany For Return of Balkan Visas

German municipal association demands restoration of visas for Serbia and Macedonia, complaining that towns and cities cannot cope with the influx of new asylum seekers.

Sinisa Jakov Marusic
BIRN
Skopje
 

The head of Germany's Association of Towns and Municipalities said the number of Serbian and Macedonian asylum seekers rose by 140 per cent in 2012 compared to 2011, putting services under strain.

Gerd Landsberg said they “already have difficulties in places in providing the necessary accommodations".

In October alone, 2,700 people from Serbia and 1,300 from Macedonia applied for asylum in Germany, Landsberg said, adding that “the trend [of new arrivals] is still rising”.

He urged the re-installment of a visa regime for these countries and also called for faster German procedures to return asylum seekers lasting no more than three weeks.

“Leaflets [in the Balkans] are promoting travel to Germany to spend the winter here,” he complained.

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.

Since then, Serbia and Macedonia have received complaints about mass arrivals of asylum-seekers, mainly ethnic Albanians and Roma, filing applications in Germany, Sweden, Belgium and other European countries.

Earlier this month, the EU Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner, Cecilia Malmstrom, called on Balkan states to cut the number of asylum seekers, noting that the numbers this year were on the rise.

Most leave the Balkans for economic reasons. Almost all are denied refugee status since the EU does not list poverty as a legitimate reason for claiming asylum.

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Related Headlines:

serbia-marks-18th-anniversary-of-nato-bombing-03-24-2017
24 Mar 17

Serbia Mourns 1999 Bombing Victims; Kosovo Thanks NATO

Serbia marked the 18th anniversary of NATO bombing of Yugoslavia with a ceremony in Grdelica, where a passenger train was hit - but Kosovo officials gave thanks for the Western military intervention.

24 Mar 17

Bosnia Court Indicts 16 for RS Banking Scam

23 Mar 17

Europe’s Balkan Hour

Premium Selection

turkey-s-anti-gulen-campaign-leaves-bosniaks-in-dilemma-03-24-2017
24 Mar 17

Turkey’s anti-Gulen Campaign Leaves Bosniaks in Dilemma

The failure of Bosnia’s Bosniak leaders to meet Turkish demands to close down organisations allegedly linked to Fethullah Gulen could cost them Ankara’s support.

bosnia-s-pyramids-get-celebrated-from-unusual-perspective-03-23-2017
23 Mar 17

Bosnia’s 'Pyramids' Get Celebrated from Unusual Perspective

Brussels-based photographer Thomas Nolf embraces Visoko’s famous so-called pyramids for offering a divided country a positive ‘ground-up’ version of history.

22 Mar 17

Vanished Mural Sparks Protests in Novi Sad

22 Mar 17

Belgrade Tween Conquers World of Music