Refugee crisis is test for Balkan stability


Labour MEP Afzal Khan has completed a three day visit to Serbia and Kosovo, as part of an official Delegation of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET).

He has met with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić, as well as Kosovo President Afitete Jahjaga. Meetings were also held with Ministers in charge of Foreign Affairs, European integration, Immigration and Asylum, as well as representatives of civil society, media and leaders of the opposition.

Speaking following the Delegation visit, Afzal Khan MEP said:

“I have met the refugees in Serbia. They are being treated well. However, I have heard terrible stories about their journey to and within Europe.”

“One in every four refugees is a child. I am particularly concerned about their future. We must work to protect them, give them hope. I therefore welcome the decision of the European Council to increase the support we give to non-EU countries and refugee camps.”

Mr. Khan expressed particular concern over the decision of the Croatian government this Thursday (24 September 2015) to close the borders to all Serbian citizens and cars, following disagreements over the handling of the refugee crisis.

“The main idea behind the European Union is that we resolve disagreements with dialogue and diplomacy, and never by closing borders.”

“The EU still has considerable soft power in the Western Balkans. We must use it to defuse any mounting tensions between these countries.”

“The EU wants the future of all Western Balkan countries to be one of peace and stability, democracy and prosperity.”