Lithuania can take in 250 refugees, president says

Dalia Grybauskaitė
DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

“According to our calculations and the proposals we have submitted to the European Commission, (…) our number would be up to 250 refugees. This is the number I will propose that the government approves in its resolution next week,” Grybauskaitė told journalists in Vilnius on Wednesday.

In her words, the calculations were made by a formula based on the population and the gross domestic product (GDP). The president then said that the EC formula behind the conclusion that Lithuania can host up to 710 refugees is “difficult to comprehend”.

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Grybauskaitė also said that passive distribution of refugees is a solution that is “unfair and doesn’t make sense”.

“We cannot resettle all of Africa to Europe anyway,” she told journalists.

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“We see obvious and clear signs of a trafficking business, therefore, passive response and mere distribution of persons across Europe would only contribute to prosperity of the business,” said the president.

Grybauskaitė restated Lithuania’s stance in support of voluntary participation in the refugee distribution scheme.

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In the effort to solve the migration crisis in the Mediterranean Sea, the European Commission has suggested resettling some of the refugees that are arriving in Italy and Greece from North Africa. Under the proposal, up to 710 refugees would have to be handled by Lithuania.

If the Baltic state agrees, it should receive 207 refugees from third countries, in addition to 503 refugee applications the country would have to process within two years. The applications would come from Greece and Italy that receive the highest numbers of refugees.

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