PM and EU commissioner tour refugee center near border
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn on Friday visited a refugee reception center in the town of Sid.Source: Tanjug
This town in located near Serbia's border with Croatia.
Hahn's message for Serbia today was that "it's not alone, that it is a European country" and that the refugee crisis must be faced "together."
He thanked the Serbian government for everything that it had done for the refugees, stressing that the country was not alone in addressing the issue.
No country can be left to solve the refugee problem alone, the commissioner stressed.
This problem can only be solved if we all work together in the spirit of solidarity and sharing the burden, he added.
Hahn underlined that the EU would certainly provide the financial and political support to Serbia. "You are not alone, you are Europeans and we should work together. We should not be raising new borders," stressed Hahn, noting that new borders and walls are not what the functioning of Europe is based on.
He pointed out that the heads of state and governments reached an agreement on Thursday regarding a further course of action, strengthening the EU's external borders and establishing hot spots for the registration of migrants.
Hahn noted that it was his obligation as a European commissioner to provide assistance to countries like Serbia, stressing that no country should bear the burden alone and be the victim of the refugee crisis simply because it is a transit country.
All sides are obligated to help the refugees and treat them humanely, said Hahn, adding that he will meet with the officials in Turkey and other countries to discuss further actions, considering that winter is coming.
Aleksandar Vucic stated on Friday that Serbia is the country through which the largest number of refugees has passed and added that they were all taken care of properly.
After the tour of the migrant reception center in Sid, Vucic expressed gratitude to Johannes Hahn for the kind words concerning Serbia's treatment of refugees.
He noted that refugees passing through Serbia come from Macedonia and Bulgaria, and added that most of them proceeded to enter Hungary while some move on to Croatia.
He underscored that refugees are welcome in Serbia and that they have been provided with adequate care. We are doing everything we can to the extent that we can, Vucic said.
He noted that refugees accommodated in the Sid reception centre told him during the talks that they are satisfied and that 90 per cent of them had no problems.
Vucic noted that the greatest burden of the refugee crisis rests on Germany and the Scandinavian countries which need to solve the problem of the refugees' employment, while other Western Balkan countries are only corridors the people are transiting through.
The Sid reception center was visited by Vucic, Hahn, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs and Chairman of the Working group in charge of solving the problem of mixed migration flows Aleksandar Vulin and Head of the EU Delegation in Serbia Micheal Davenport.
Hahn, who is in charge of EU's neighborhood policy and enlargement negotiations, will today in Belgrade meet with Serbian officials to discuss the refugee crisis. Vucic and Hahn will have lunch in the Villa Bokeljka in Belgrade and then hold a joint news conference.
The EU official will also be received by Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic, Labor and Social Affairs Minister Aleksandar Vulin, and Jadranka Joksimovic, minister without portfolio in charge of EU integration.
Ahead of his trip to Belgrade, Hahn said in a statement:
"I am grateful for Serbia's competent and resilient management of the refugee crisis. Serbia is ensuring decent living conditions for refugees, in line with international standards. The EU stands by Serbia in this pan-European crisis which can be solved only with a common approach. Just this week an additional EUR 17 million were announced to support the efforts of Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in coping with the refugee crisis."