Wednesday

24th May 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 vote to start democracy probe on Hungary

The European Parliament took the first step towards launching the Article 7 procedure against Hungary for backsliding on democracy. The process might lead to sanctions, but Orban is not backing down.

MEPs preparing to crack down on Orban

The EU assembly's largest group is split by its "enfant terrible", but enough MEPs are likely to abstain or vote Yes on the "Article 7" crackdown over Orban's illiberal rule.

Schulz fails to beat Merkel in German home state

Former EU parliament leader, Martin Schulz, says the defeat of his social-democrats in North Rhine-Westphalia is "difficult". The elections showed that a "Schulz effect" does not (yet) exist.

Austria heading for snap elections

Foreign minister Kurz has taken leadership of the conservative party in what could lead to an alliance with the far-right.

News in Brief

  1. Pressure grows on climate impact of EU timber harvesting
  2. US goes after Fiat Chrysler over emissions cheat
  3. Munich police break up Europe-wide burglar clan
  4. Report: VW threatened with €19.7 billion French fine
  5. Turkey begins mass trial of suspected coup leaders
  6. Merkel's CDU consolidates lead in polls
  7. France to host Russian president
  8. Switzerland votes against nuclear power

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  3. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  6. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  8. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  9. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  10. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  11. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  12. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms

Latest News

  1. Openness over Brexit is 'political play', says EU ombudsman
  2. Le Pen's EU group in fresh spending scandal
  3. New EU right to data portability to cause headaches
  4. Cyber threats are inevitable, paralyzing impact is not
  5. Transparency complaints keep EU Ombudsman busy
  6. EU sets out criteria for relocating UK agencies
  7. EU states back bill against online hate speech
  8. Dutch coalition talks collapse again