Johansson: Serbia could lose visa-free regime over migrants

NEWS 14.10.202214:25
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European Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson warned that the visa-free regime could be revoked for Serbian citizens because official Belgrade failed to align with European Union policies, Belgrade-based Beta news agency said on Friday.

Beta recalled that the EU has blamed Serbia for the sudden rise in the number of migrants arriving in members states through the Western Balkans.

Johansson expressed the hope that Serbia and other Western Balkan countries would align their visa policies with those of the EU.

Beta said that Frontex agency data shows that more than 106,000 migrants entered the EU illegally via the Western Balkans in the first nine months of 2022 which is an increase of 170 percent compared to the same period a year earlier. The European Commission noted that the route was used mainly by Syrians, Afghans and Turks but that migrants also arrived from Cuba, India, Burundi and Tunisia. The commissioner said that many of them have to return to their country of origin and that the route has to be closed.

Johansson is scheduled to meet Western Balkan officials in Berlin next week.