Lithuanian interior minister: Refugee resettlement is test for administration and society

Saulius Skvernelis
DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

In his opinion, discussions on the issue in Lithuania give away ungrounded fears.

Speaking at a discussion at the parliament on Thursday, Skvernelis asked about Lithuania’s reaction, if it was faced with similar problems, while European Union (EU) member-states responded offhandedly.

“The refugees are not animals, they are not statistical units, they are people, and the way our country is ready to receive them will formulate our image for our people and partners. A success story on this issue is an exam for the government, the Seimas, ministries and the whole civil society,” said the minister.

Skvernelis emphasized that a selection process, which Lithuania will take part in, is the main safeguard. “The main aspect of the process lies in the selection, our ability to take part in the selection, this will be the key and the main footing for the future. If we properly participate in the mechanism, threats and fears may vanish,” he added.

Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius said at the discussion that 505 persons would be resettled to Lithuania next year. In his words, the number of lots at the Refugee Reception Center in Rukla has been doubled from 80 to 160.

As Europe faces the biggest migration crisis since World War II, Lithuania has committed itself to resettling 1,105 persons over two years from countries, such as Syria, Iraq and Eritrea.

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