Number of Migrants in Croatia’s Neighbourhood Falling Steadily

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, April 4, 2018 – The number of migrants in Serbia has been declining steadily since August 2017, the country’s commissioner for refugees and migrants Vladmir Cucić said in an interview with the Večernje Novosti newspaper on Wednesday.

Cucić said that between 4,100 and 4,200 people usually stayed at the refugee reception centres, while in early 2017 their number reached between 6,000 and 7,000. He said that between 10 and 15 migrants entered Serbia on a daily basis. “The number of people arriving in Serbia has stabilised and the route is slowing coming to its end. We expect their number to fall to a minimum in two years. The Balkan route will never be completely closed, but the number of migrants should not exceed 1,000,” Cucić said.

He said that most of the migrants wanted to continue their journey west as quickly as possible. They are provided with accommodation, food, clothing and footwear, children are vaccinated, preschool and school classes are organised, and social protection and healthcare services are provided. Training and retraining courses are also provided, but there is not much interest, he added.

On the other hand, Radoš Đurović of the Centre for Asylum Seekers told the newspaper that although the number of migrants had declined, the Balkan route was far from being closed because people were less visible. “Not all of them are at the reception centres, some are in big cities, some are near the border. They have been coming by plane from Iran since we have a visa-free regime with that country,” he said.

Đurović said it was a good move that the army had withdrawn from the border because the border police were doing their job effectively. He said that currently there were about 5,000 migrants in Serbia, noting that Croatia and Hungary were unlawfully returning illegal migrants on a daily basis.

According to information from the Ministry of the Interior and the Centre for Asylum Seekers, 1,021 people applied for asylum in Serbia in the first two months of 2018 and only five were granted it.


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