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Parliamentary questions
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6 December 2011
Question for written answer E-011476/2011
to the Commission
Rule 117
Nathalie Griesbeck (ALDE)

 Subject: Ethnic violence in Kosovo and asylum applications
 Answer in writing 

The year 2010 and the first nine months of 2011 have been marked by numerous acts of ethnic violence in Kosovo, especially in the north, between Serbian and Albanian communities. Northern Kosovo was affected by very severe tensions at the end of July, in the wake of an attempt by the Kosovar authorities to take control of the two border posts at Jarinje and Brnjak. On 5 July, a Serbian member of the Kosovo Assembly was fired on in Mitrovica. Other outbreaks of violence took place in September following the dismantling by the KFOR of the barricades erected by the Serbs on the Serbian border, an act which led to riots.

Also in September, KFOR personnel were deployed in Mitrovica, as a shield between the Albanians and Serbians fighting on the Ibar bridge. Last week in Mitrovica, a fusillade killed one person and left two severely wounded. In addition, Kosovo has become a theatre of permanent clashes and acts of vengeance between ethnic groups and communities, Serbs and Albanians.

Can the Commission state what measures the EU has taken in the face of this violence? What actions have the Commission or the High Representative for Foreign Affairs taken or pledged in the face of this conflict?

In addition, every year the Member States admit hundreds of refugees and asylum‑seekers from Kosovo. According to the official statistics, 5 % of asylum‑seekers in Europe are from that country.

1. In view of these circumstances and the constant ethnic conflicts in Kosovo, does the Commission not believe that Member States should give these ‘asylum‑seekers’ the status of refugee or beneficiary of international protection, under Directive 2004/83/EC of 29 April 2004 (‘Qualifications’)?

2. Does the Commission not consider that those under threat from these conflicts are at risk of harm in their country of origin, in the sense defined in Directive 2004/83/EC?

3. Does the Commission consider the addition of Kosovo to the list of ‘safe countries’ by OFPRA in France in March 2011 (enabling French prefects to refuse residence to asylum‑seekers from that country) to be justified, given the risks affecting people there? If not, what measures does it believe should be taken?

Original language of question: FROJ C 180 E, 21/06/2012
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