Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic (R) shakes hands with visiting Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz before their meeting in Belgrade, Serbia, on Feb. 13, 2017. Serbia is doing all it can to assist European countries to prevent illegal migrations but is dissatisfied with Europe's lack of a common solution for the migrant crisis, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic told Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz on Monday here. (Xinhua/Nemanja Cabric)
BELGRADE, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- Serbia is doing all it can to assist European countries to prevent illegal migrations but is dissatisfied with Europe's lack of a common solution for the migrant crisis, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic told Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz on Monday here.
Kurz arrived in Belgrade for an official visit and during meeting with Vucic both sides discussed what the two countries can do together in the context of the migrant crisis and other challenges that countries of the Western Balkans are facing.
At the press conference, Vucic said that Serbia wishes to be a part of a joint solution for the migrant crisis together with other European countries.
However, Vucic said, the European Union (EU) didn't fulfill promises made so far, threatening to turn Serbia and other countries of the Balkan route into "parking lots for migrants."
"We have fulfilled our obligations in line with what was agreed earlier in Brussels. We haven't used force against migrants, not once, but we also do not wish that our country becomes a parking lot for them. Austria or any other European country do not wish this either, because they are not prepared to pay such a price either," he said.
Vucic revealed that around 6,000 people are currently accommodated in Serbia's shelters for asylum seekers, while several hundred more are refusing to be sheltered despite the harsh winter conditions.
"We keep most of the migrants in Serbia accommodated in shelters, and we invite others, around 500 people to come there too. However, they do not wish to do so, because staying outside of shelters perhaps makes it easier for them to find smugglers who would transport them further on across the Danube to Croatia and further on towards other European countries," Vucic said.
He explained that currently around 200 people illegally enter Serbia daily across Macedonian and Bulgarian borders.
Vucic thanked Austria for assisting Serbia in securing its border with Bulgaria. "Austrian policeman are welcome in Serbia and we are thankful for equipment, vehicles and support that we received. We expect even better cooperation in future," Vucic said.
Kurz noted that 20 Austrian policemen are engaged in protecting Serbian and Bulgarian border.
He thanked Serbia for its support in the peak of the migrant crisis in 2015 when hundreds of thousands of people, both illegal migrants and refugees hurled across Greece, Macedonia and Serbia towards EU countries.
"This led to a massive overload in countries such as Austria and Sweden. In that moment our friends from the Balkans assisted us and helped us to close the Balkans route for migrants and put an end to their crossing from Greece to the Central Europe," Kurz said.
He stressed that Austria is ready to contribute more to security of Serbian borders because well-arranged borders will also benefit Austria and other countries of the Central Europe.