Interior Ministry approves residence permit to Belgian journalist after all

February 13, 2018

Philippe Bertinchamps, a Belgian journalist and reporter for multiple media outlets from French-speaking countries, will continue living and working in Serbia, after the Serbian Interior Ministry (MUP) granted him a one-year residence permit.

Media outlets previously reported that Bertinchamps had been threatened with expulsion from Serbia, following the refusal of his request to extend his temporary residence in January. The media reported that the negative stance of the Interior Ministry was based on the assessment of the Security Information Agency (BIA) that Bertinchamps represents a threat to the security of the Republic of Serbia and its citizens. The journalist told reporters that he believes this security assessment was a result of his reporting on events in Serbia.

On the same day that several media outlets in Serbia, as well as local and foreign media associations, warned of the possibility of the Belgian journalist being expelled, Bertinchamps was invited to the Ministry of Interior on 19th February, where he was granted permission to remain resident until 2019. Bertinchamps lives in Serbia with his wife and child and has been reporting from Serbia since 2007.

Bertinchamps told news portal “Raskrikavanje” that he had been invited to come to the Interior Ministry for his visa and that they only told him that “they have some ‘new elements’” and because of these “new elements” he no longer poses a threat.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić announced that he would seek additional explanations from competent officials of MUP and BIA regarding this case.