Welcome, but Please Don't Stay: Refugee Crisis' Implications in the South-East European Countries

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 09:15
Location: Hörsaal 07 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Marko VALENTA, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
Drago ZUPARIC-ILJIC, Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies, Croatia
‘The Refugee Crisis’ in 2015 shifted the visibility of the forced and irregular migrants’ flows towards the Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkan route. In the Euro-Mediterranean area this has been articulated as humanitarian and security challenge where securitization of European borders seems more important than facilitating access to the territory and access to the asylum and integration system, with lifting walls, barbed wires and closing of Schengen borders. The EU has no common and effective solution to facilitate ‘the crisis’, rather some member states have chosen partial, restrictive and ad hoc solutions, even obstructing proposals for “quota system”. This paper describes and analyzes the current asylum policies and measures in the South-East European countries (Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina), on the very borders of the Schengen area. It attempts to answer the question: due to arrival of the increasing number of refugees, how do they access the territory and the asylum systems of these countries? What are the reasons why forced migrants circumvent to seek protection in those countries, and continue transiting to Western Europe? The paper is based on a research conducted in 2014 among a population of asylum seekers and refugees in Croatia, investigating reasons why they choose Croatia as a country of transit and avoid it as the destination country. Furthermore, it examines what could be outcomes of present national and regional policies on further inflows regarding access to territory and to refugee protection systems. We prove these three countries do not have a clear and systematic policy for future arrivals, nor they have reception/integration systems well-built, which poses a long-term threat to (in)efficiency of national systems of asylum, integration and security. We use a methodological approach of desk-study analysis, analysis of data from the above-mentioned research and synthesis of previous studies on this subject.