Last week Serbia cancelled visa-free travel for both Burundi and Tunisia, and on Oct. 24 the government stated through a Serbian embassy that visa policy would be aligned with EU policy “until the end of the year,” as cited by euobserver.com.
EU representatives had previously harshly criticized Serbia for seemingly having opened the door to immigrants coming from countries that have not yet recognized Kosovo or will not recognize Kosovo as an independent state. Citizens from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, China, Cuba, Guinea Bissau, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Suriname, and Turkey can currently travel to Serbia with no visa requirement, according to euboserver.com.
This has allegedly resulted in a much-increased stream of immigrants trying to cross from Serbia into the EU through “irregular means,” with border camps reporting the arrival of up to 300 to 400 such voyagers a day. Interestingly, such immigrants include not only persons from Afghanistan and Syria, but also from Cuba. Likewise, the Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN) has pointed to “violent/illegal pushbacks” on the part of Hungarians stopping immigrants at the border.
Other progress has also been mentioned, which could potentially appease the EU, with US representatives claiming that a deal on Kosovo may happen in weeks—although this is difficult to believe, considering that the current government derives support from citizenry decidedly against Kosovo recognition. Likewise, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has stated that Serbia will remain neutral unless actually attacked by Russia, which means Serbia is unlikely join the EU with regard to sanctions over the war in Ukraine.
Serbian border police vehicle photo by: Srđan Popović, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.