The EU is impressed with the way Serbian authorities are handling the migrant crisis and with Serbia’s economic reforms. Christian Danielsson, the European Commission’s director general for neighborhood policy and enlargement negotiations, said this in Belgrade on Thursday.

At a press conference following the handover of 82 vehicles donated to the Serbian Interior Ministry, Danielsson said he was satisfied with the cooperation on tackling the migrant crisis and the way Serbian authorities viewed and handled the issue, Tanjug reported.

According to Beta, he said that the EU had donated EUR 50 million to Serbia since the start of the crisis and added that the EU supported economic reforms in Serbia as well as reform in the education system and that it was the biggest donor in Serbia, having donated around EUR 2 billion since 2007.

“We at the EU are impressed with the way that Serbia is solving the problem of the migrant crisis,” the agency quoted Danielsson as saying, as he handed over the keys to 82 vehicles to the MUP, along with 24 vehicles for the Commissariat for Refugees.

Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic, who, together with Danielsson, attended the ceremony, said that the Serbian police since the beginning of the migrant crisis arrested about 2,300 migrant smugglers and added that the EU “recognizes our efforts in the fight against illegal migrations.”

He specified that the donation includes off-road vehicles, mini vans, passenger cars and one bus, and that the vehicles will be used by border police.

(Tanjug)

Stefanovic pointed out that this represents concrete assistance for the Republic of Serbia, in order to be more effective in the fight against illegal migration.

“Since the beginning of the migrant crisis, we managed to arrest about 2,300 migrant smugglers, which is a big number. This shows the commitment of the Republic of Serbia not to allow anyone to break the law in our country, to use the misfortune of people who have fled their homes and in any way harm the reputation of our citizens and our country,” he said.

Stefanovic said he is satisfied with the cooperation that has been achieved in addressing the migrant crisis and the way in which Serbian authorities observe and resolve this issue and added that the EU will continue to support Serbia in resolving this crisis, as well as the strengthening of border controls.

He also presented the progress made relating to Chapter 24 especially in terms of border control, fight against organized rime and cooperation with other police forces in the region and the EU, the Serbian government said on its website.

Minister without portfolio in charge of European integration Jadranka Joksimovic met on Thursday with Director General for Enlargement at the European Commission Christian Danielsson.

The Serbian government announced that they spoke about “the continuation of Serbia’s EU integration, reforms being carried out in this process, the situation in the region and relations with the European Union.”

Joksimovic “stressed that the membership in the European Union is a strategic interest of Serbia, that the reforms are aimed at ensuring a higher standard and better life for citizens, and added that European integration is the best mechanism for the overall development of the country.”

The officials welcomed the opening of Chapter 26, which relates to culture and education, and Chapter 20 on industrial policy and entrepreneurship at the first intergovernmental conference during Malta’s EU presidency on 27 February, and agreed that a sound dynamics gives a positive signal to continuation of reforms and Serbia’s European path.

Danielsson “stressed the importance of the reforms being implemented in Serbia, and stressed that Serbia is a good example of economic reform, regional cooperation and a reliable partner of the Union on the issue of migrant crisis.”

Joksimovic said that Serbia is open for cooperation to strengthen regional stability, which is a prerequisite for development and progress of the neighborhood.

She, however, pointed out that it requires a constructive approach of all in the region.

Joksimovic and Danielsson discussed the strengthening of capacities for the successful use of IPA funds and also agreed to consider ways in which the EU can help Serbia in the process.

Joksimovic expressed gratitude to Danielson on the overall support and assistance to Serbia in the European integration process, according to a statement from the Office of the Minister without portfolio responsible for European integration.