The European Union continues to assist Serbia in the management of migration flow, by providing additional EUR 13 million in grant for the 2021 activities.
As of 2015, when the increased influx of migrants to the territory of Serbia began, the EU has donated to Serbia over EUR 130 million, including this 2021 assistance package. These funds have been used to support state institutions in charge of migration management and migrants.
Through the EU support Serbia is pursuing a four pronged and comprehensive approach:
First – the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration is providing accommodation, food and protection for migrants and refugees;
Second – the Ministries of Health and Education are providing medical and pedagogical services to migrants while on the territory of Serbia;
Third – the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) is assisting Serbian institutions to protect migrants and implement the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Program for migrants to their countries of origin;
Fourth – the border management is being reinforced, by strengthening capacities of the Ministry of Interior. Members of the Serbian Border Police who, jointly with the EU guest officers, supervise the Serbian border with Bulgaria and North Macedonia.
The ongoing EU Support to Migration Management in Serbia proved a key and resilient programme also during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the number of accommodated migrants in the reception centres and asylum centres at its peak in 2020 exceeded 9,000. Vladimir Cucic, Serbian Commissioner for Refugees and Migration, puts at the moment the number at 6,200.
“The EU assistance in managing migration in Serbia is of great importance. At the same time, Serbia, as a transit country for migrants, has fulfilled all its obligations on the European path. Cooperation with the European Union in the area of managing migratory flows has proven to be mutually fruitful,” said Commissioner Cucic.
Ambassador Sem Fabrizi, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, said that the presence of migrants and refugees needs to be continuously addressed and in line with EU standards. In this regard, the EU will continue to support Serbia’s authorities to provide services for migrants timely and adequately and manage borders more efficiently.
“The European Union remains by Serbia’s side to manage migration efficiently and humanly, as it has done now for several years. This support ensures access to health services, schooling and social protection of the migrants, with special attention to unaccompanied minors, with attention also to infrastructural projects. Special thanks to all our key partners. All the relevant public institutions, including the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veteran, and Social Affairs, and Ministry of Health, as well as local self-governments hosting refugees and migrants, are working to continuing deliver an important job”.
All institutions in charge of migration management, as well as the EU as donor, pay special attention to timely information provision on all migrants related issues.
A real-life experience of developments in the reception centres and asylum centres during the COVID-19 lock down has been documented in a 10 minutes movie Locked down, which tells the life of migrants in the Reception Centre in Obrenovac.