Bildt defends Balkan visa deal
The Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has concerns about demands from a number of EU countries who want the EU to reintroduce visa requirements for people coming from the Balkan countries, reports Swedish Radio news.
Germany and five other EU members want to require that people coming from Balkan states have visas, due to the big increase of asylum seekers from Serbia and its neighboring countries.
In 2009 and 2010, the EU took away the visa requirements for people from most of the non EU-countries in the western Balkans. But the move has led to an increase in the number of asylum seekers from the area, even though citizens there most often do not have proper reasons to be asylum seekers.
The number of asylum seekers from Serbia has increased by 40 percent to Sweden, and the number of asylum seekers from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania has also risen sharply.
While Carl Bildt says he has concerns about the increasing number of asylum seekers, he is uncertain about reintroducing the visa requirement.
"Because it would have a negative impact on regular, decent people - an impact on the traffic and integration between free people in Europe, young people and students, who we actually want to support and which will lead to a positive development in the region," Bildt says.
"And we also have a meaningful labor migration coming from Serbia, so the free flow of those people is in our best interest," he adds.