The EU will help the Balkans and Hungary deal with the flood of immigrants, Merkel says
Thursday, 09 July 2015
The European Union will help the Balkans and Hungary deal with the flood of immigrants, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in Belgrade on Wednesday. She is currently visiting the region. “Italy and Greece were immigrant’s first choices…. However, the situation changed in June and July. Immigrants are trying to go through the Balkans more and more, so we will try to help these countries”, Mrs Merkel said. She spoke during a meeting with the Serbian Prime Minister Aleksander Vucic.
The German Chancellor said the situation in Hungary and Serbia has been caused by the current system for Asylum seekers, “which is not working”. The EU’s Home Affairs Ministers are trying to find a solution, she added.
More than 34,000 people have requested asylum in Serbia since the start of the year, the Serbian Home Affairs Minister revealed.
On Monday, the Hungarian Parliament voted in laws needed for the construction of a barrier along its 175 km border with Serbia, and by a large majority. It is designed to hold back the flood of immigrants trying to get to Western Europe through these two countries.
Last month’s announcement that the barrier would be constructed was criticised by Brussels and Belgrade. The border checkpoints between the countries will remain open, Budapest said.
Mrs Merkel and Mr Vucic said building walls “is not a solution”. “Immigration is a problem we are all dealing with, and we need Europe’s help to solve it”, the Serbian Prime Minister said.
Serbia is not a member of the EU, but gives four EU member States access to its land: namely Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Croatia.