Refugee crisis does not compromise visa-free regime

Michael Davenport

NOVI SAD – The visa-free regime between Serbia and the EU has not been brought into question by the refugee crisis, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Michael Davenport said Thursday, stressing that the Schengen Agreement has not been suspended. 

The decision of the German government to reintroduce border controls is in accordance with the Schengen Agreement, which allows for this option in crisis situations, Davenport told the Radio and Television of Vojvodina (RTV).

He added that the visa-free regime between Serbia and the EU is not compromised by the decisions of that kind.

Davenport condemned the violent actions of the Hungarian police against the refugees at border crossing Horgos 2 and commended Serbia for the way it has provided support to refugees in the current crisis.

He pointed out that in this situation the task of the EU delegation is to help Serbia, primarily by providing humanitarian aid.

Asked why there was no serious opposition from the EU to Hungary’s decision to put up a wire fence along the border with Serbia, and if that is the ugly side of the EU, Davenport said that it does paint an ugly picture and that fences are not the solution to the refugee crisis.

The European Union has never before faced a crisis of this scale, he said, adding that the European Commission is looking into all the aspects of Hungary’s new regulations in the migration policy, which will be the subject of its next meeting.

He stressed that all the decisions in addressing the refugee crisis should be made jointly and that Serbia should be included in the decision-making process.