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The Rise of Anti-Refugee Rhetoric in the Western Balkans and Central Europe

Source: BETA Edited: APC Photo: APC

In almost all countries of the Western Balkans and Central Europe there is noticeable intensified anti-refugee rhetoric, and the actions of political groups against the acceptance of refugees enables negative effects in local communities and the manipulation of the population and the promotes occurrences of xenophobia, as was concluded and the international conference "Integration Days" held in Belgrade.


The International Conference on the Challenges in the Integration of Refugees in the Balkans and the European Union was held in Belgrade during the past three days, and was organized by Asylum Protection Center, and with the coordination of experts from organizations and local governments of Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary.

Participants exchanged experiences on refugee integration processes, current and future challenges and processes within this system, and jointly assessed that this process is adversely affected by the general absence of verified and objective information on the reasons of migration and refuge, their needs, the consequences and sensitivity of these vulnerable persons.

The Conference also discussed the challenges of integrating refugees into the local environment, the importance and influence of the media on the attitudes and consciousness of the citizens on in integration and refugees, the role of social networks in processes of informing the local population for the purpose of acquaintance and rapprochement with the migrant population, as well as the steps to be undertaken to strengthen the interaction and integration of refugees.

"Ineffective functioning of administration, which due to capacity shortages and will, does not apply to the existing integration rules in the manner envisaged by the law, so that integration is often inefficient or incomplete, so that people remain in the process, they are not integrated or live in invisible or ghettoized by citizens, not with them, " as discussed at the Conference.


It is also estimated that many legal changes in some European countries place actors of the local government, branch offices, parts of system, citizens , in uncertainty about how to act, or follow the system, without seemingly adhering to the needs of refugees in integration, which affects the very functioning of the whole system of asylum and acceptance.

"Refugees should become as familiar as possible with the culture, customs, language, history and laws of the communities they are arriving in, but also citizens of local communities should learn and be informed about migrants countries of origin, the fears of refugees, their customs, and to become familiar with the reasons as to why there is an arrival of refugees. Integration is a two-way process, and with the understanding and contextual similarity it can be particularly facilitated," as was added.

It was concluded that there is no answer that can be successful if it does not come from the area the issues exist, and it must be resolved because centralization in migration and integration is neither a realistic nor sustainable solution.


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