News 13 Jul 12

Number of EU Asylum Seekers From Serbia Falls

Serbia moved down the list of countries of origin for asylum seekers in the EU in 2011, descending from third to fifth position, compared to the year before.

Bojana Barlovac
BIRN
Belgrade

Serbia was ranked fifth in the list in 2011, with 13,390 asylum seekers lodging applications in EU countries, the latest report of the European statistical office, Eurostat, shows.

In 2010, Serbia was ranked third, with 17,715 asylum seekers, after Afghanistan and Russia.

Almost 10,000 of the overall number of asylum seekers in the EU came from Kosovo, which the report has treated separately from Serbia.

In 2011, Afghanistan remained on top as a country of origin, sending around 230,000 asylum seekers to the EU. It was followed by Russia, Pakistan and Iraq.

When it comes to the number of asylum seekers per million inhabitants of the host country, greatest pressure is being exerted on Malta, Luxembourg, Belgium and Sweden, Eurostat reported.

According to the report, only one in four applications was granted in 2011.

EU Schengen-zone countries agreed in Luxembourg in June to restore border controls temporarily, to curb mass influxes of migrants.

Schengen states were then allowed to restore normal border controls for a period of six months with the possibility of extending the measure for another six months.

This essentially means the restoration of passport controls between the EU Schengen states.

In December 2009, the European Union lifted visa requirements on citizens of Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro, allowing them to travel to the EU Schengen zone without the need for visas.

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

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