Refugee resettlement stalls due to Italy, Greece, Lithuanian intermin says
The resettlement of refugees to Lithuania has been stalling for the last six months as the Baltic country does not receive migrant applications from Greece and Italy, Lithuanian Interior Minister Eimutis Misiūnas says.
Speaking to BNS Lithuania, the minister confirmed the fact that migrants have not been sent from Italy and Greece since last December but Lithuania has received around 20 refugees from Turkish camps during the period.
"The key reasons are that both Greece and Italy do not send us migrants' personal files. Lithuania accepts refugees, i.e., people who need international protection. As we know, there are also many economic migrants in these countries. And we have a principled position not to accept such people, and there are talks on that. So when countries have no personal documents, they cannot provide files, and we have nobody to resettle," the minister said.
According to Misiunas, Lithuania is ready to meet its EU commitments regarding the resettlement of refugees, but, he added, the country will not soften its requirements as it must ensure national security.
In 2015, Lithuania made a commitment to accept over 1,000 asylum seekers to facilitate the migration burden faced by Italy and Greece. Part of refugees is being resettled from Turkey.
Since then, 468 refugees have come to Lithuania but 338 no longer live in the country.
Lithuania is considering signing a bilateral agreement with Germany on the return of refugees who were granted asylum in Lithuania.