A temporary reception centre for migrants will be built within the territory of Belgrade, capable of housing 2,000 to 3,000 people, the Prime Minister of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić announced on 19 August. The reception centre will be located not far from the highway, probably behind “Nacional” Hotel. Serb officials have thus far made no statements on a potential long-term policy by the state in case the refugees, mostly leaving for the EU, were to stay longer within the territory of Serbia due to the measures implemented by Hungary.
After visiting the migrants temporarily staying in the park at the Belgrade bus station, Vučić told the press that the migrants in the park will be given blankets, diapers, bread, milk, and the number of toilets will be increased. “The state of Serbia acted well, we’ve provided them with hospitality they have not seen before, as evidenced by the lower number of incidents in our country”, said Vučić and added that he is proud of all the citizens providing them assistance.
Vučić noted that Serbia will not make migrations “the greatest problem in the world”, nor will it erect walls and surround the refugees with wire, as done by neighbouring Hungary.
The head of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) mission in Serbia Hans Schroeder said on 18 August for TV N1 that, according to government data, 83,000 asylum seekers were registered in Serbia, mostly refugees from Syria. Of this number, around 500 have submitted asylum requests.
Most of the refugees in Serbia are not seeking asylum, because their intent is not to stay in Serbia, but to leave for one of the countries in the north and west of Europe. Their movement could, however, be hampered by measures being undertaken by Hungary, including the erection of a fence along the border with Serbia.
Additionally, a new regulation came into force on 1 August in Hungary, whereby all surrounding countries other than Ukraine were placed on the list of those safe for migrants, therefore in theory, all those entering from Serbia, regardless of origin, could be returned to Serbia.
The minister of foreign affairs of Serbia, Ivica Dačić, said that Serbia will not be building a wall along the border with Macedonia, nor asylum camps, and assessed that the influx of refugees from Middle Eastern countries towards Hungary will be redirected to Croatia and Bulgaria.
The European Union border agency Frontex stated that in July a record number of refugees reached the EU – 107,500, with most of them from Syria and Afghanistan, arriving to Greece from Turkey.
The International Organization for Migrations (IOM) stated that this year nearly 250,000 migrants crossed the Mediterranean Sea on their way to Europe, exceeding the total number of migrants in 2014.
Source: Beta, taken from www.euractiv.rs