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Ethnic Profiling: The actress was refused entry into the EU

"I have never felt so humiliated in my life," said Emra Kurtischova after she was sent home by an officer at the Skopje airport despite valid flight tickets and a biometric passport that is suitable for the Schengen region, reports the Balkan Insight platform. Kurtischova believes that she was not allowed to fly to the EU because she is a Roma.

The actress wanted to fly to Germany on June 19 to support her sister, who lives in Konstanz and needs help during her difficult pregnancy. The return ticket was issued for two months afterwards.

Not enough money

But at the airport in Skopje Kurtischova was not let through to the flight by the officer. The reason: the actress does not have enough money for her stay in Germany with her. Kurtischova had 500 euros and a confirmation that her sister would pay for her stay in Konstanz. According to Balkan Insight, there should also be a stamp from the city of Konstanz on the letter. Kurtischova's flight ticket was canceled, however, and she had to take back her luggage and turn back. "Why do I even have a passport if I am not allowed to travel abroad?" Asked Kurtischova, according to Balkan Insight.

The Macedonian Police Minister Gordana Jankuloska denied any allegations of discrimination against Balkan Insight. Kurtischova was prevented from traveling because she did not have enough money with her. In the case of Germany, travelers would have to have 43 euros per day available.

Pressure on the Balkans

Macedonians, Serbs and Montenegrins have been able to travel to the Schengen zone without a visa since 2009. But since asylum applications from Macedonians and Serbs (especially in winter) have increased in some EU states (e.g. in Germany, Belgium, Sweden and France) in recent years, these states have started to put pressure on the Balkan states to do so who prevent asylum applications and have even threatened to revoke the visa-free regime. Since then there have been repeated reports that Roma (for example in Macedonia) are prevented from traveling to EU countries. In Austria, Southeast Europeans usually do not apply for asylum because the procedures and thus the length of stay are much shorter than in Germany, for example.

Stamps in passports of Roma

The Southeastern Europe expert at the University of Graz, Robert Pichler, has researched the handling of the Roma in more detail and photographed a Macedonian passport in which border officials put certain plates. "On the stamp you can see the lines that the border officials put on the Roma passports in order to stigmatize them. With this symbol in the passport they can no longer leave the country," said Pichler about the STANDARD.

The Macedonian Ombudsman reports in its most recent report on 15 cases involving ethnic discrimination. In eight cases, the authorities accepted the ombudsman's proposals for ethnic discrimination. Typical are complaints that "citizens of the Roma community were not allowed to cross the state borders", according to the ombudsman's report for 2013. In these cases, the ombudsman requested information from the border police and referred to the prohibition of discrimination and the prohibition of discrimination Restriction of freedom of movement.

In general, care has recently been taken to ensure that travelers from south-east Europe have "enough" money with them. For example, when you take the bus from south-east Europe to the EU, the bus driver may take on the task of checking how much You have money with you and whether it is permissible to travel to the Schengen zone.

Discrimination complaint

When asked by STANDARD, Kurtischova said that she had nothing more to say at the moment. The 28-year-old actress is considering filing a complaint about discrimination and wants to contact the ombudsman. Apart from that, she would like a refund for her plane ticket, she told Balkan Insight. (Adelheid W├Âlfl, derStandard.at, June 24, 2014)