• Germany's news in English
 

Minister to EU: stem tide of Balkan asylum seekers

Published: 25 Oct 2012 12:52 GMT+02:00

In comments published ahead of Thursday's meeting of EU interior ministers, Friedrich said the EU "could offer Serbia and Macedonia adequate aid," adding that if this did not resolve the problem, current visa-free travel would be lifted in line with decisions taken in the European Council.

Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia were granted visa-free status by the EU in December 2009, thereby allowing their citizens to travel. Several EU nations, especially Sweden, Belgium and Germany have received a flood of asylum seekers from Balkan countries in recent years, unhampered in the passport-free Schengen zone.

Two weeks ago, Friedrich demanded the visa-free regime for Serbia and Macedonia be suspended because the number of immigrants to Germany from these countries had risen so sharply.

Friedrich's comments were backed by French Interior Minister Manuel Valls, who shares the German minister's concern about a rush of asylum seekers from Balkan countries stretching western European resources.

"Our two countries have been subject to a worrisome trend: a flood of asylum seekers from countries which have recently benefited from an easing of visa rules," Valls told France's Le Figaro and German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Valls complained that domestic laws forced Germany and France - the economic heavyweights of the eurozone - to house and feed the asylum seekers "even though it's almost certain that their demand will be rejected. This problem should be met with a European response," he said.

Friedrich called for stricter rules for asylum seekers from Balkan countries and that the asylum application process be sped up.

"Those who come from a stable country of origin should in future receive lowered cash benefits," Friedrich told Die Welt newspaper on Thursday. Meanwhile, applications should be processed "within the shortest possible time."

In a separate interview on German broadcaster ARD, Friedrich said both Serbia and Macedonia had to better integrate their sizeable Roma population into the mainstream.

"If they want to belong to Europe, they must cooperate on who ultimately takes care of these people," he said. "They have to do things so that these people don't feel discriminated against."

AFP/DAPD/The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

16:57 October 25, 2012 by raandy
Asylum should be handled on a case by case basis. Opening the flood gates to the more lucrative social bennys found in Germany and other EU countries is an obvious plan for mass exodus from a region of none to a land of plenty.The land of plenty trying to support those from the land of little will eventually find them selves in the same situation.
20:36 October 25, 2012 by Englishted
Agreed raandy ,along winded way of saying we can't afford and don't want them .
21:51 October 25, 2012 by crm114
come on Ted, fair's fair. You are just as entitled to avail yourself of the cornucopia that is Macedonia. You do not even need to show your passport. These freedoms would be simply unthinkable without the boys and girls in Brussels.
Today's headlines
Rail in north and east delayed by storms
Photo: DPA

Rail in north and east delayed by storms

Rail passengers will have to deal with delays on several key rail lines after storms on Sunday night caused damage to infrastructure. READ  

Germany grab vital win in Georgia
Photo: DPA

Germany grab vital win in Georgia

Marco Reus and Thomas Müller's first-half goals sealed a 2-0 win in Georgia on Sunday to put the world champions' Euro 2016 qualifying campaign back on track. READ  

Ethiopia's Legese wins Berlin half marathon
Ethiopia's Legese (R) crosses the finish line just ahead of Kenya's Kogei. Photo: APF

Ethiopia's Legese wins Berlin half marathon

Ethiopia's Birhanu Legese won the Berlin half marathon on Sunday as African runners dominated the top ten finishers in the men's race. READ  

Spectator killed in Nürburgring crash
A section of the Nürburgring's north circuit

Spectator killed in Nürburgring crash

A man has been killed and several others injured in an accident at Germany's Nürburgring racetrack. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Germany to hold April service for crash victims
Photo: DPA

Germany to hold April service for crash victims

Germany will hold a national memorial ceremony and service on April 17 for victims of the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps, killing all 150 aboard, regional authorities said on Saturday. READ  

Scientists aiming to redefine the kilogram
The world's roundest sphere. Photo: DPA

Scientists aiming to redefine the kilogram

The German Nation Metrology Institute (PTB) in Braunschweig has set itself the enormous task of finding a new formula for measuring a kilogram. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Germanwings co-pilot 'hid illness' on crash day
Photo: DPA

Germanwings co-pilot 'hid illness' on crash day

Germanwings said on Friday that it had no knowledge of a doctor-signed sick note found by investigators at flight 4U9525 co-pilot Andreas Lubitz's flat. READ  

Varoufakis quells rumours of resignation
Yanis Varoufakis. Photo: DPA

Varoufakis quells rumours of resignation

Update: After German tabloid Bild reported that Germany's least-favourite Greek minister Yanis Varoufakis was considering resigning, the minister rejected the story on Twitter. READ  

Germany to expand disability rights
Photo: DPA

Germany to expand disability rights

A representative of the German Labour Ministry went before a UN Committee on Friday to discuss the government's plan for improved rights for disabled people. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Germanwings captain's compassion goes viral
Photo: DPA

Germanwings captain's compassion goes viral

A Facebook post describing how a Germanwings pilot personally reassured his passengers of their safety on a flight on Wednesday has received over quarter of a million likes. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
LIVE: Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in Germany
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,127
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd