EU to help Western Balkan countries

EU

At the October 8 Western Balkans conference in Luxembourg, EU member states and the European Commission (EC) will seek ways to make it easier for the countries of the region to deal with the migrant wave, EC Spokesperson Natasha Bertaud said on Monday.BRUSSELS, 28.09.2015 – At the October 8 Western Balkans conference in Luxembourg, EU member states and the European Commission (EC) will seek ways to make it easier for the countries of the region to deal with the migrant wave, EC Spokesperson Natasha Bertaud said on Monday.

The EU has already earmarked urgent assistance for Serbia and Macedonia to facilitate the reception of migrants, Bertaud said, adding that she expects additional aid to be agreed at the conference.

She declined to comment on speculation that the EU intends to send experts on registration of migrants to reception centres in Serbia and Macedonia as part of a plan for hotspots.

Under a plan adopted last week by officials of member states, such hotspots are only envisioned to be within the EU, with only one in existence for the time being, on the Italian island of Lampedusa.

The interior ministers of EU member states, who will also meet on October 8, will decide on making a joint list of safe countries, which, besides Serbia, will include other countries of the region and Turkey, Bertaud announced.

When requesting asylum in the EU, citizens of those countries will go through a shortened procedure, which will enable their quicker repatriation.

According to figures from the European statistical agency Eurostat, Serbian citizens accounted for around 2 percent of migrants who requested asylum in the EU in the first half of the year, while the number of citizens of Kosovo and Albania rose considerably to 13 percent of the total number of asylum seekers.

Souce: TANJUG