Lithuanian PM: We need to ‘motivate’ refugees to choose Lithuania

According to the prime minister, the main reason why refugees do not choose Lithuania for asylum is that they are mostly familiar with countries that have previously received refugees: Germany, Austria, Greece, Italy and Sweden.

“I think it is a matter of time, because we will discuss and consider ways to motivate these people [refugees]. Perhaps they do not have enough information about some countries like Lithuania, which is a small country,” Butkevičius told the radio Žinių Radijas on Thursday.

The Lithuanian delegation, led by Deputy Interior Minister Elvinas Jankevičius, is in Greece this week, where they are visiting refugee camps and discussing resettlement procedures with Greek officials.

Jankevičius previously told BNS that the delegation was ready to select one Syrian family to be transferred to Lithuania immediately. However, Jankevičius said the delegation had failed to find people willing to come to Lithuania.

PM Butkevičius said, however, that refugees did not seem to favour any of the Baltic states.

“But I hope that this issue will be settled with time – we hope that some people will choose to come to Lithuania,” he said.

As part of an EU effort, Lithuania has pledged to take in 1,105 refugees from Syria, Iraq and Eritrea currently accommodated in Greece and Italy.

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