Wednesday October 17,2012
By Macer Hall
The open-door border policy is under attack
A SURGE in asylum claims from eastern Europe last night put EU chiefs under pressure to tighten border controls.
The governments of six EU countries called for visa regulations to be reintroduced for citizens from the western Balkans.
The move was being seen last night as belated recognition that the EU ’s open-door border policy had been a massive blunder.
At present, Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia have the right to travel to the EU Schengen zone without visas.
But a letter from the governments of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to the European Commission warned that “thousands” of newcomers are causing chaos by making asylum claims using fake passports.
Michele Cercone, spokesman for EU home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom, said a “small minority” were “crippling” the EU asylum system and admitted the “vast majority of migrants from Balkan countries” were economic migrants.
Serbia offered to pay the EU compensation for the cost of “less than 10,000 asylum seekers” rather than see a return to visa controls.
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