Thursday

25th Aug 2016

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.

News in Brief

  1. Switzerland sees increase in migrants from Italy
  2. Norway to build Arctic border fence
  3. Brexit leader Farage addresses Trump rally
  4. Finland holds 'IS fighter' over 2014 Iraq mass killing
  5. Commission allows Portuguese bank recapitalisation
  6. Ex-commissioner: my rules on emissions are not vague
  7. Leading Danish MEP steps down from post
  8. US cooperating with Turkey on Gulen extradition

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  2. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  3. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  4. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  5. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  6. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  7. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!
  8. Dialogue PlatformAn Interview on Gulen Movement & Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey
  9. GoogleA Little Bird Told us to Start Tweeting About Google’s Work Across Europe. Learn More @GoogleBrussels
  10. Counter BalanceThe Trans Adriatic Pipeline: An Opportunity or a Scam in the Making for Albania?
  11. Counter BalanceThe Investment Plan for Europe: Business as Usual or True Innovation ?
  12. Belgrade Security ForumMigration, Security and Solidarity within Global Disorder: Academic Event 2016