Displacement and migration Country of origin and transit country

Serbia is a transit country for refugees who enter the European continent through Greece and move on to Western Europe. In 2015, more than 760,000 refugees arrived via what is known as the Balkan route. Even after the closing of the borders in 2016, this route continues to be used. More and more people are now travelling illegally, with the help of people smugglers.

Syrian refugees at the Serbian-Hungarian border in August 2015

Syrian refugees at the Serbian-Hungarian border in August 2015

Syrian refugees at the Serbian-Hungarian border in August 2015

Serbia is also a country of origin of refugees and migrants. Members of the disadvantaged population groups in particular regard migration to the European Union as their only chance of improving their living conditions. In 2015, for example, 90 per cent of the applications for asylum filed in Germany by Serbian nationals came from members of the Roma minority. However, apart from a few exceptional cases, such applications are normally unsuccessful, as Serbia is considered what is termed a safe country of origin.

Well-trained young people are also leaving Serbia, which is posing a problem to the economy. These people are hoping for better job and income opportunities in other countries, but they are causing a national brain drain.

Through its development cooperation with Serbia, Germany seeks to help reduce the push factors for migration. Thus, one goal of the cooperation programmes is to create tangible positive effects for disadvantaged people (Romani, rural people, children and youth) and to give people better opportunities on the ground.