Oskar Benedikt, deputy head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, on Wednesday 19 August visited the reception centre for migrants in Presevo and announced an immediate donation of €390.000 from the EU to help Serbia deal with increased migration flows in the short-term.
“The migration situation is not only Serbia’s problem, it is a European and a global problem which we must tackle jointly. I am very glad to announce that the EU has allocated immediate funds for helping Serbia deal with this humanitarian crisis”, Benedikt said.
From the total financial package of €390.000, the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) is providing €150,000 in humanitarian funding to help cope with migratory pressures in Serbia. The support will be channelled through the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to help the Serbian Red Cross deliver much needed assistance over the next three months to migrants and asylum seekers, including children. Assistance will go to migrant reception centres across Serbia, including the Presevo centre in the South of the country, and help highly vulnerable refugees, including families with children. The support will also target migrants and asylum seekers temporarily in public parks and abandoned buildings.
In addition, the EU Delegation to Serbia is providing €240.000 from EU’s pre-accession funds (IPA funds) for additional needs. This aid will be able to address additional needs such as waste disposals, water and sanitation and other needs which over the next few weeks will be identified in cooperation with the Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Policy as well as the Commissariat for Refugees.
In addition to this immediate donation, the EU will continue supporting the reform of Serbia’s asylum system in the medium and long-term. Some €8.2 million have already been set aside from EU’s pre-accession funds for Serbia for projects, which are already being implemented or will start within the next year:
- €3.2 million will be used to expand existing accommodation capacities for migrants in Serbia.
- An EU twinning project of €1 million is already ongoing with a focus on drafting a new law on asylum and stepping up the reform of the asylum system.
- €4 million have been allocated to further develop Serbia’s border surveillance systems.
A regional programme worth €8 million is also under preparation to deal with protection-sensitive migration management in the Western Balkans and Turkey, mainly related to Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.