Vucic tells BBC Serbia willing to take in 15,000 refugees

Serbia's Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said on Thursday that Serbia, in agreement with the European Union, was willing to accept 15,000 refugees, Belgrade media reported on Thursday.

Vucic, who was participating in a donors' conference in London dedicated to Syria and the refugee crisis, gave an interview to BBC's "Newsnight" in which he underscored the fact that Europe had still not found a common solution to the migrant crisis, adding that Belgrade would act in line with agreements reached in Brussels.

"We said that we will act in accordance with what is agreed. And all this time we have been the only country that has treated those people in a humane way... You didn't see tear gas in Serbia, batons or other things... We accepted those people because 20 to 25 years ago we had a similar situation and know how those desperate people feel," Vucic said. 

He added that Serbia would agree to participate in the distribution of quotas for the reception of refugees from Syria and the Middle East. "We are prepared to be part of a European solution and even to participate in the quota scheme and accept 5,000 or 10,000 people. Naturally, if they wish to remain with us," he said.

Asked to be more specific about the number, Vucic said: "5,000, 10,000 or 15,000, it doesn't matter, whatever we decide. However, we need to keep in mind that Serbia is a small country. If we were to agree to that many, then Poland, which is much larger, would have to agree to, let's say, 70,000 to 80,000."

The Serbian government in late January decided that it would grant 500,000 euro in aid for Syrian children at the donors' conference in London.

Last update: Thu, 04/02/2016 - 18:04
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