serbia is toughening its visa rules after migration prompts pressure from the eu
Serbia – Serbia is experiencing a sudden tourist boom from countries whose citizens have never had the opportunity to visit attractions and shop before.
This is largely due to the Balkan country’s strict entry regulations, which have made it a key stop for migrants seeking to reach Europe without risking a perilous sea crossing.
A recent flight from Turkey to Belgrade – one of half a dozen daily flights – was crowded with people from African and Asian countries who do not need a visa to enter a European country.
But things are changing as Serbia faces pressure from the European Union, which it wants to join, to introduce visas for countries that have become a source of migration to the 27-country bloc.
EU wants Serbia to align entry rules with bloc
EU officials say thousands of travelers who have entered Serbia and other countries in the Western Balkans as tourists in recent months have ended up seeking asylum in EU member states.
Block is concerned that the Balkan region is already seeing a rise in the number of people from the Middle East, Asia, and Africa heading to the prosperous heartland of Europe, where they hope to find a better life.
The EU is hosting millions of refugees from Ukraine and is struggling with rising prices and an energy crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of a neighboring country.
Hoping to ease the pressure a bit, the EU has urged Serbia – along with other Western Balkan countries aspiring to EU membership such as Albania, Bosnia and Montenegro – to bring its entry rules for travelers in line with those of the bloc.
The Balkan route leads from Turkey and Greece through North Macedonia and Bulgaria to Serbia and on to the borders of EU members Hungary, Romania and Croatia. Crossings across the Balkans tend to be busier in autumn and winter, when bad weather exacerbates the dangers of an already perilous journey through the Aegean.