Increasing exodus from Kosovo into Hungary

The European Union is experiencing a steep rise in the number of Kosovo citizens smuggling themselves into the affluent bloc, with 10 000 filing for asylum in Hungary in just one month this year compared to 6 000 for the whole of 2013.

It follows a relaxation of travel rules allowing Kosovars to reach EU borders via Serbia and has coincided with political turmoil and unrest in Kosovo fuelled by poverty, high unemployment and economically debilitating corruption.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said hundreds of Kosovars slipped into Hungary and asked for asylum in the first eight months of last year, only for the number to rocket to 21 000 between September and December.

Hungary’s State Office of Immigration and Nationality said that of 14 000 foreigners who had sought asylum since the turn of the year, 10 000 were from Kosovo, a small, ethnic Albanian-majority state that declared independence from Serbia in 2008.

– Reuters

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