Rejected asylum-seekers return to Macedonia from France

17th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

A group of 93 Macedonians returned from France on Thursday after being denied asylum there, private TV station Alsat reported.

The group, Macedonian nationals of ethnic Albanian and Roma origin, were sent back to the airport in the southern town of Ohrid before being driven to their homes, the report said.

The asylum seekers interviewed by the TV said they had tried to find work in France, mostly illegally, before being deported after their requests for asylum were found to be baseless.

The group was the first of its kind to be returned from France.

Last week, a group of 60 people who had been denied asylum in Germany, tried to attack and verbally abused journalists covering their arrival at Skopje airport.

Since the European Union abolished a visa-requirement system for Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro in December 2009, some EU member states, notably Sweden, Belgium and Germany, have seen an increase in asylum-seekers from those countries, mostly Roma and ethnic Albanians.

The executive European Commission has warned Serbia and Macedonia they could lose visa-free travel privileges if they do not stop the influx.

Germany also deported 36 people in December when the EU extended visa-free travel rights to Albania and Bosnia but with a tight monitoring system and the possibility of suspending the privilege in cases of abuse.

© 2011 AFP

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