Saturday

25th Feb 2017

Governments demand action on Balkan asylum claims

  • Member states are protesting the rise in bogus asylum claims (Photo: wfbakker2)

Take control of asylum applications or risk losing the right for citizens to visit the EU without a visa EU justice and home affairs ministers warned Balkan countries on Thursday (25 October).

But despite tough talk from member states and the commission in advance of the meeting, ministers did not make a snap decision on visa-free travel.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

They said the issue would be discussed at the next ministerial forum between ministers from the EU and the Western Balkans on 5-6 November in the Albanian capital Tirana.

The move comes as member states negotiate with MEPs on proposed revisions to the rules on visa-free travel, which allow people to stay in an EU country for up to three months without a visa.

The proposal includes a set of safeguard clauses which allow visa requirements to be re-imposed if there is a 50 percent spike in asylum applicants over a six-month period.

Countries want to tighten the rules further. Despite being tabled nearly eighteen months ago, negotiations between ministers and MEPs only began in January, with the parliament taking a more lenient stance than most governments.

Last week, the European Commission said that there had been a sharp rise in unfounded asylum claims from Serbia and Macedonia, both of which are candidates countries for EU membership.

Germany and France are leading a group of six EU countries demanding the immediate reintroduction of visa requirements to travel.

Speaking after the meeting with ministers, EU justice commissioner, Cecilia Malmstrom called on the Balkan region countries to maintain the integrity of their borders.

Pointing to data released last week by the commission showing a near 75 percent increase in the number of claims for asylum seeker status, Malmstrom said that it was "time for the Balkan states to address this."

"There are very serious concerns," she added.

In an attempt to defuse the situation, Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic last week pledged that he would compensate member states for the costs of treating bogus asylum claims.

MEPs set to approve Canada trade deal

The European Parliament is expected to give the green light to the EU-Canada free trade agreement, which would start being implemented in April.

France's Macron issues Brexit warning

The centrist presidential candidate tells talented Britons to come to France and warns against giving the UK "undue advantages" after Brexit, in a speech in London.

French police raid Le Pen's party office

Officers raid the National Front headquarters near Paris over allegations that leader Marine Le Pen used fake EU parliament contracts to pay her personal staff.

News in Brief

  1. Spanish court jails former IMF chief Rato
  2. Macron proposes Nordic-style economic model for France
  3. Germany posts record high budget surplus
  4. Labour ousts Ukip in Brexit homeland
  5. Dutch lower house approves EU-Ukraine treaty
  6. WTO says Russian pork ban was illegal
  7. Belgian nuclear plant made 'significant progress' on safety
  8. Report: Commission gauging EU support for Poland sanctions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EURORDISJoin the Rare Disease Day and Help to Advocate for More Research on Rare Diseases
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStudents Who Are Considered Fit Get Better Grades in School
  3. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Paris on March 4th
  4. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  5. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  6. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  7. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  8. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  9. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  10. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  12. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations