BELGRADE – Serbia takes all the required actions for migrants not to settle in the country en masse, and all the implemented measures are humane, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said Monday during his joint speech with Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz.
“We do everything not to become a parking lot for migrants,” Vucic said.
He noted that unlike in several other Balkan countries and EU members, Serbia’s actions aimed at preventing illegal migrants from settling in the country were humane.
According to the Serbian prime minister, at the moment the country accommodates 6,700 migrants, 5,800 of which are staying at the reception centers. With 110 to 140 refugees coming a day, 70 percent of the migrants arrive from Bulgaria, and others from Macedonia, while 80 percent of the migrants are Afghanistan and Pakistan citizens, he said. Only 10 percent are accompanied by their families, all others are men under 40.
Vucic mentioned that a year ago most of the migrants were refugees from Syria.
According to the prime minister, authorities constantly invite those outside the reception centers to settle there, as there are vacant places available. However, migrants do not want to take the places, as this would prevent them from liaising with traffickers able to help them get to Croatia and other EU countries.
Serbia lies on the so-called Balkan route. The route is used by hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers from the Middle East and North Africa to escape from hostilities in their countries. Belgrade authorities said in January 2016 that migrants who asked for asylum in Serbia would be granted help, but the authorities would crack down on illegal entry.