Hundreds of Albanians detained at Serbia-Hungary border

290 persons, mostly Albanians from Kosovo, have been arrested in the past 48 hours as they were attempting to illegally cross from Serbia to Hungary.

Source: B92, Beta, Tanjug

This was announced by Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic during a news conference in Belgrade on Friday.

256 misdemeanor and 15 criminal complaints have been filed related to people smuggling charges, and 15 vehicles confiscated, he said, and added that "anyone abusing the freedom of movement is committing a violation."

Stefanovic announced that he would meet in Belgrade on Monday with the director of the German police to discuss the problem of "illegal migrants and fake asylum seekers."

In recent days, ethnic Albanians from Kosovo have been leaving the territory in great numbers over the administrative line checkpoint of Merdare between Kosovo and central Serbia. From there, they are transported to the town of Subotica in northern Serbia, near the border with Hungary.

In a report earlier this week, Reuters said that "the European Union is experiencing a steep rise in the number of Kosovo citizens smuggling themselves into the affluent bloc."

According to the report, "10,000 filed asylum in Hungary in just one month this year compared to 6,000 for the whole of 2013."

This came "following a relaxation of travel rules" allowing Kosovo's residents to "reach EU borders via Serbia," the agency said.

During the news conference on Friday, held after he signed a readmission agreement protocol with the Swedish ambassador in Belgrade, Stefanovic also revealed that there are currently some 60,000 requests filed by Albanians from Kosovo to receive Serbian passports.

The minister said he interpreted this as "their desire to recognize Serbia as their country. "

Seven years ago, ethnic Albanians in Kosovo unilaterally declared independence, but Serbia considers the proclamation a violation of its Constitution and territorial integrity.


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