LUXEMBOURG/BELGRADE – Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said in Luxembourg on Thursday that Serbia is offering shelter, healthcare and any other protection to asylum seekers.

Illustration - AP Photo/ Marko Drobnjakovic
Illustration – AP Photo/ Marko Drobnjakovic

At a meeting of justice and interior ministers from several EU member states and other countries, the minister said that the biggest number of migrants, before arriving in Serbia, go across the territories of EU member states – Bulgaria and Greece – and underlined that Serbia expects to receive the EU’s aid.

During this year, a total of 41,864 people voiced the intent to claim asylum, but only 388 actually filed an asylum application, In reception centers, there are no more than 400 people on a daily basis, and there is space for around 800 people.

This data shows that Serbia is clearly not the final destination for migrants, but rather a transit country on their way to Western European countries.

The Serbian minister specified that in the first half of 2015, authorities foiled 20,104 attempts at illegally crossing the border, which is about 800 percent more than in the same period last year.

“In the first six months, officers blocked 7,633 people from crossing the Serbian-Hungarian border illegally, and pressed 7,083 offence charges, which is a three-fold increase in comparison to entire 2014,” Stefanovic said.