Deputy Prime Minister for European integration Bozidar Djelic stated that through amendments of a series of laws in Serbia, another criminal act will be defined, namely the crime of organising illegal migrations, so as to prevent further flow of false asylum seekers from Serbia to the EU.
Speaking at the opening of an exhibition “How I Recognise Europe in Serbia”, Djelic said that the basis for these amendments is grounded in the Parliamentary Declaration which Serbia ratified and which deals with illegal migrations.
He stressed that police officers on border crossings will conduct stricter control and make sure that passengers have return tickets, insurance, enough money to prove that they will be able to sustain themselves while abroad and similar.
The freedom of movement has led to 3.1 million Serbian citizens being issued with biometric passports, which is much more than during the socialist Yugoslavia, when 1.6 million had passports at the most.
Over 2.5 million citizens have already used their right to the freedom of movement, he added.
Djelic observed that Serbian authorities expect cooperation from Schengen countries, which means that those who abuse visa liberalisation may have their passports temporarily seized or be forbidden from entering the Schengen space.
The fact is that it is mostly members of the Roma population who seek asylum, and being chairman of the Council for Roma Inclusion, I will summon a session to ask for support from leaders of the Roma minority, he explained.
He said more funds must be allocated for a better life of the Roma, but this minority is also responsible because inaction on its part can lead to restrictions for all Serbian citizens.
Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Vincent Degert voiced his hope that Serbia will become a candidate country before the year’s end.
I hope Serbia will surpass all obstacles on its EU path and become a candidate for full membership before the end of the year, Degert said opening the exhibition.
Djelic and Degert presented awards to winners of the “How I Recognise Europe in Serbia” competition in photography.
The EU Delegation to Serbia and the EU Integration Office observed Europe Day in Belgrade under the slogan “Europe, Openly!”
Degert and Head of the EU Integration Office Milica Delevic presented awards for the best media coverage on Serbia’s EU integration process in 2010.
Delevic said that the awarded journalists will go to Brussels and meet European officials in order to be familiarised with the work of EU institutions.
Best media coverage awards were presented to journalists Goran Janicijevic, Kosta Rajevic, Ivan Jovanovic, Ana Simonovic and Zoran Maksimovic.
Opening the celebration of Europe Day, 9 May, which is also marked as Victory Day, Degert called upon Belgrade residents to take an active part in the celebration, announcing that President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso will soon arrive to Belgrade to open the EU Information Centre.