Germany has declared Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro safe countries today, making it less likely asylum applications from Balkan will be accepted, and easier for the country to expel individuals with rejected claims.
The change heralds a shift in attitude towards the migration problem in Germany, which has been totally overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people traveling to the country, attracted by generous handouts and open door policy. Europeans from the Balkans will now be discriminated against in asylum applications in favour of Syrians, to whom the door remains open.
Germany is also to change the means by which it will pay benefits to migrants, moving away from the giving of cash to benefits in kind – the direct distribution of food and shelter. Presently between 8,000 and 10,000 new migrants arriving in Germany every day.
Germany’s Der Speigel reports today the proportions of newcomers arriving to Germany, which yields some interesting results. While Syria is the largest group, accounting for nearly a quarter of all arrivals on their own, the Balkan states account for some 40-per-cent. Whether Germany’s redefinition of these nations as safe will discourage migrants from coming, and whether they will be deported will be a great test of resolve.
Germany’s open-door policy to Syrians has sparked clashes with some eastern EU member states, in particular Hungary, which has adopted the opposite strategy, sealing its borders to migrants.
Croatia also lashed out on Thursday at Budapest’s handling of migrants as “totally unacceptable” while Prime Minister Viktor Orban was preparing to defend his hard line at the UN General Assembly
“They (Hungary) are considering closing border crossings. But how will they stop people? Shoot at them? Deploy the army?” said Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic.
AFP contributed to this report.
Follow Oliver Lane on Twitter: Follow @Oliver_Lane or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org