[ 09. Dec 2012 ]

Migrants in Serbia, the externalisation of EU migration policies and resistance

Subotica - OpenStreetMap

No Borders Serbia info-talk about the externalisation of the EU migration policies onto Serbia, situation of migrants in Serbia and the need for solidarity and resistance, both in Serbia and internationally. Thursday, 13. December 2012, 8 pm @ Politdiskubeisl, EKH, 2nd floor, Wielandgasse 2-4, 1100 Wien.


Only around 400km from Vienna, close to the town Subotica on the Serbian-Hungarian border, hundreds of undocumented migrants are living in make-shift dwellings, in the so called "jungles". They are stuck in Serbia, waiting to cross the increasingly securitised Schengen border into the EU. They live in very difficult conditions: often without appropriate shelter, access to running water and sanitation and with inadequate nutrition. Their lives get especially difficult in the winter, when the temperatures drop below zero. Their travel, as well as presence, on the territory of Serbia, are illegalised. This means that, just because they do not have travel documents, they are daily persecuted by the police and fear violence, arrest, detention and deportation.

The creation of these "jungles" along the Serbian-Hungarian border is only one of the consequences of the increased repression of migrants, dictated by the externalisation of the :: EU migration policies onto Serbia.

In the recent years, Serbia has turned from a country of transit for undocumented migrants into a country where migrants are stuck for increasingly longer periods of time. These changes are occasioned by the pressure of approaching the EU membership: Serbia has developed its independent asylum system and reinforced border controls and deportation mechanism on the border with Macedonia. It has also obediently cooperated with the EU's efforts to keep migrants out of EU - it has signed the readmission agreement with the EU and developed the cooperation with Frontex, the EU agency for the management and operational cooperation on the external borders of the EU.

Given the repression of migrants in Serbia - as well as the climate of prevailing xenophobic discourses and recent racist protests and mobilizations - there is a need for solidarity and resistance. There is a need for both a creation of new discourses about migration in Serbia, critical of the repressive EU policies and their externalization - as well as a strengthening of a migrant solidarity movement, which is well-connected with international migrant solidarity networks.

The purpose of this info talk is to present the situation in Serbia - we believe it is important for people to know what is happening in Serbia, especially as many migrants who have passed through Serbia also pass through, or even end up settling for some time, in Vienna and other cities in Austria. Furthermore, we would like to open up a space of discussion of the possibilities of showing solidarity with migrants, in their passage through Serbia and wider.