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Balkan exodus overwhelms EU
He added that those who are rejected in one EU country often go to another, where they start the process all over again.
Part of the problem is a lengthy asylum review procedure in many EU countries.
The Brussels-based European Stability Initiative, a think tank that has closely monitored the Balkan asylum seekers, said in a recent report that a key reason most asylum seekers choose Germany is that its Constitutional Court, under pressure from rights groups, this summer increased monthly benefits from $155 for a four-member family to $550 — more than the average monthly salary in most of the Balkans.
If the asylum seekers buy their own food and clothing — instead of relying on EU handouts — that sum increases to $1,400.
Less generous measures
In Austria, for example, just 380 Balkan nationals asked for asylum in the same time frame even though it’s closer to the Balkans.
Austria in 2010 already had put all western Balkan states on a list of “countries of safe origin” — meaning seekers from those countries are unlikely to be victims of ethnic, political or religious abuse — and decides on the asylum claims within a week, the group said.
The sudden influx has triggered alarm in Germany, which is at the forefront of the process to reinstate the so-called Schengen visas.
“Germany advocates the abolishment of visa-free travel if they [Serbia and Macedonia] are not capable of stopping this misuse,” Hans Peter Uhl, Germany’s ruling Christian Democratic Union parliamentary speaker for interior affairs, recently told The Associated Press.
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