150,000 illegal immigrants in Europe to be repatriated to Serbia
Serbia can expect the return of up to 150,000 of its citizens living in Europe as illegal immigrants, the Serbian Commissioner for Refugees Vladimir Curic said on Saturday, Xinhua reported.
Speaking before the Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly in Belgrade on Saturday, Curic said these people would be returned according to the Readmission Agreement signed with European Union member states and other European countries, reported the Serbian news agency Tanjug.
Most of the illegal immigrants will be returned from Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg.
Curic said the process of readmission would be "difficult and painful" but that Serbia would seek to satisfy the agreement. However, he also underscored the fact that Serbia is still burdened with 86,000 refugees and 210,000 internally displaced persons.
Curic said that these numbers remain high because the conditions for return are often inadequate. He cited the instance of Croatia where he said there was little willingness to respect the rights of the returnees.
The EU has recognized this problem, according to Curic, and has directed a large portion of Serbia's pre-accession funds to help find a solution to the problem of current refugees.
According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Serbia is ranked 12th in the world for its number of refugees and is the European country with the most refugees and displaced persons.