Commission: Relocation of refugees from Greece and Italy is slow

Commission: Relocation of refugees from Greece and Italy is slow

Athens, July 14, 2016/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

According to the latest European Commission progress report on the refugee crisis, the relocation process of refugees into EU countries from Greece and Italy is moving at a very slow pace. The number of relocations has increased – a fact the Commission acknowledges as being positive – however it is far behind the target member-states have committed to.

Specifically, during the reporting period, between June 14 and July 11, the number of relocations increased by 776 people, bringing the total number of persons resettled in other EU member states to 3056 (2,213 from Greece and 843 from Italy), with Croatia participating in the program for the first time.

“While this is a positive development and shows that Member States increased their efforts, it still falls far short of the proposed Commission aim to migrate 6,000 people each month. Member States have not yet fulfilled their commitments under the Council decisions on relocation” the European Commission notes.

As regards the resettlement of refugees from third countries, since July 2015 a total of 8.268 people have resettled mainly from Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Twenty countries have participated in this resettlement program: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

According to the Commission, the number of resettlements from Turkey under the Common EU-Turkey Declaration continued to grow during the reporting period (June 14-July 11).

Since April 4, 2016 a total of 802 Syrians have resettled from Turkey to the EU, including 291 who resettled last month. The number of Member States actively participating in the program has also increased.

Compared with the previous progress report, besides Finland, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, Luxembourg and Portugal, Latvia and Spain have also participated.