EurActiv.com

EU news and policy debates across languages

30/09/2016

Serbia steps up migrant checks after Paris attacks

Justice & Home Affairs

Serbia steps up migrant checks after Paris attacks

Syrian refugees registering in Serbia. [BETA]

Serbian authorities announced they would increase border checks on refugees following the terrorist attacks in Paris. Seven Serbian citizens were severely injured in the attacks. EurActiv Serbia reports.

At the same time, officials stressed that the government would not allow an “anti-Muslim campaign” to take root in the country.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic met on Saturday (14 November) with French Ambassador to Belgrade Christine Moro, and expressed his sympathy with the French people. “Even though it is a small country, Serbia will try to help as much as it can,” Vucic told the French ambassador.

Minister of Interior Nebojsa Stefanovic said on Saturday that Serbia was stable security-wise, but added that the state would raise the level of intelligence and readiness of all security services.

“That means we will increase control of the migrant flow through our country in the sense of additional identification of all individuals. We will raise an additional level of readiness of the forces fighting terrorism,” Stefanovic told the Serbian Broadcasting Corporation (RTS).

Suspected terrorist was in Serbia

The Serbian Ministry of Interior stated on Sunday that one of the suspected terrorists, A.A., whom the French security services are interested in, had been registered at Serbia’s southern border crossing of Presevo on 7 October , where he had formally applied for asylum.

“Checks have revealed that his data match the data of the person identified in Greece on October 3. No Interpol arrest warrant had been issued for this person,” reads the statement, adding the Ministry will continue to cooperate with French security services.

No anti-Muslim campaign

Interior Minister Stefanovic said there was no need to change the policy on migrants and that the government “will not allow any sort of anti-Muslim campaign,” while Minister of Labor Aleksandar Vulin said he did not expect a change in attitude towards refugees because of the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Vulin told RTS that Serbia was leading a policy on migrants by ensuring that their needs were met, while at the same time ensuring citizens’ everyday life is not disrupted.

According to Vulin, there were around 3,000 refugees in the Presevo camp in southern Serbia Saturday. Some 2,000 migrants were also waiting for transportation at the border with Croatia.

Serbia has refrained from erecting walls at its border since the start of the refugee crisis, and has pursued a policy of providing asylum seekers with the necessary aid.

No parliamentary party in Serbia has called for a change to that policy, apart from the right-wing, pro-Russian and extremely Euroseptic Serbian People’s Party, which has one MP in the Serbian Parliament.

Party leader Nenad Popovic said the attacks in Paris showed what awaited Europe in the future if it allowed Islamic terrorists, hidden among the migrants, to enter its territory freely. He called for Serbia to close its border with Macedonia, deploy the army, and build a wall.