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Migrants, Cei: seminar on Balkan route effects concluded

Speakers:'Asylum requests in Wb to grow, more solidarity needed'

07 May, 14:38

(ANSA) - TRIESTE, 07 MAG - In a context of deteriorating expectations of the EU candidate countries towards the enlargement process, the refugee crisis in the Balkans has contributed to opening the communication channels, reconnecting the Southeast European with the EU leaders, the secretary general of the Central European Initiative (CEI), Giovanni Caracciolo di Vietri, said during his inauguration speech for the seminar held Friday in Trieste dedicated to the longterm effects of the Balkan route to the EU enlargement process.

The event was organised by Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso (Obc) in cooperation with the CEI and the European Commission - Dg Near. Luisa Chiodi, the director of the Obc, agreed. "The refugee crisis brought the Balkans back to the centre of the EU policy after years of enlargement fatigue and marginalisation of the region's countries on the EU agenda", she said.

"But although the crisis brought media attention back to the region, it has also been a devastating emergency from the humanitarian point of view, which obviously didn't help the ongoing programs of economic renewal", Chiodi added, reminding that these are countries with fragile institutions, still recovering from the '90-ies wars.

"We are talking about more than 70,000 internally displaced refugees within the region that exports economic migrants itself", Chiodi reminded. The debate on the answer of the institutions, civic society at the European and regional levels to the crisis, as well as its longterm effects were at the centre of the seminar.

During the encounter, the necessity for the principle of solidarity to function has been underlined numerous times. The representative of the Dg Near, Giulio Venneri, reminded that the Southeast Europe was connected with the EU not just through close economic ties but also from the political point of view.

"The EU is all of us, this is our future", Venneri said, underlining that the crises like this cannot be managed without the principle of solidarity prevailing on that of national sovereignty. "As a European, it is embarrassing to see 28 EU countries not being able to decide together about welcoming and distributing 60,000 refugees, while countries like Lebanon have received more than a million", said Gianluca Rocco, Iom coordinator for the Western Balkans. Rocco further underlined that it was unlikely for the new routes to develop and that Italy would most probably return to be the main route.

In the course of the debate, Gianfranco Schiavone of Ics Trieste underlined that the refugees ended up as a mere instrument of the internal battle among the member countries, instead of thinking of common solutions. "The asylum requests in Southeast Europe will grow. Consequently, these countries need help", he added.

"The Italian experience of decentralised hospitality in place of the management through camps, can certainly serve as inspiration for Western Balkans", Schiavone concluded.


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