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Parliamentary question - E-004139/2015(ASW)Parliamentary question

Answer given by Mr Avramopoulos on behalf of the Commission

The Commission noted with concern the unprecedented migratory inflows from Kosovo to several EU Member States between September 2014 and February 2015. It initiated the establishment of a working group on irregular migration between Kosovo and Serbia to address this issue. At its second meeting on 16 April, the two parties agreed a set of joint operational measures, including closer information exchange and operational cooperation, information campaigns on travel to the Schengen area and joint steps on return.

In early February 2015, nearly 1 400 Kosovo citizens a day crossed the Serbian-Hungarian green border. This number dropped to less than 15 a day by late February and has fallen even further. This dramatic fall in the number of irregular border-crossing at the Serbian-Hungarian border proves that the steps taken by the two parties have successfully addressed the recent migration flows from Kosovo. The joint measures agreed in the working group on irregular migration equip both parties to prevent a similar migration crisis in the future.

The negotiations over the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with Kosovo were launched in October 2013 and completed in May 2014. The Commission submitted the SAA to the Council for signature on 30 April.

The Commission continues its visa liberalisation dialogue with Kosovo, which remains a powerful instrument to strengthen Kosovo’s institutions to address irregular migration, human smuggling and threats to the EU’s internal security.