Serbian PM Vučić promises shelter for migrants in Belgrade – and no anti-migrant fences

Serbian prime minister Aleksandar Vučić told migrants on August 19 that they are are welcome in Serbia and that the country will do everything for them to feel safe, and announced that a temporary shelter will be built in Belgrade with a capacity for 1000 to 2000 people.

Visiting migrants who are temporarily staying in the park near the bus station in Belgrade, Vučić said that Serbia has given migrants from Syria and Afghanistan hospitality and warmth they had not found anywhere before, according to an item on the Serbian prime minister’s official website.

“The issue of refugees from Syria and Afghanistan is seen as a big problem. We have accepted them in Serbia. We know how our people suffered 20 years ago. I am proud of the fact that our country, on their way to the EU, is the best and safest shelter for them,” Vučić said.

He reiterated that Serbia will help as much as possible, and emphasised that the authorities acted well and in an organised manner regarding the issue of refugees.

Bearing in mind that cold days are coming, a temporary shelter will be built in Belgrade, most likely behind the hotel Nacional, not far from the motorway.

Speaking with migrants, Vučić asked them about their needs and promised that Serbia will do everything so that they would feel better, and when he asked them if all was alright, they answered yes, the prime minister’s website said.

Vučić reiterated that Serbia will not raise walls and set up barbed wire to prevent migrants from entering the country, and added that the EU should not have turned a blind eye to such cases in other countries.

“I think that the EU should not have turned a blind eye to wires and fences, but it did that deliberately. I think it should have reacted as in some other cases,” he said.

“As far as we are concerned, we will not turn a blind eye, but we will help as much as we can, and whether the EU will help Serbia – thank you if you help us, and if not thank you again,” Vučić said.

Vučić reiterated that setting up wires is horrible for him and that Serbia will not do so.

Serbian website b92 reported on August 19 that Serbian foreign minister Ivica Dacic said that Serbia will not build a wall along the border with Macedonia to stem the tide of migrants crossing into the country.

According to Dacic, the flow of migrants from the Middle East on their way to Hungary will “redirect to Croatia and Bulgaria.”

“I don’t believe that Serbia will make a decision to, at some moment, like Hungary (on the border with Serbia) build a wall on the border with Macedonia in order to prevent the entry of refugees and migrants to our country,” he told the paper.

Asked “how Serbia will behave and what measures it will take if the Hungarian wall leads to refugees and migrants, who are trying to reach the EU via Serbia, staying longer here,” Dacic said that this will “not occur,” as migrants “know where they can go and pass through in order to reach their desired destination.”



The Sofia Globe staff

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