Lithuanian welfare minister expects municipalities to share refugees voluntarily

Algimanta Pabedinskienė
DELFI (R. Achmedovo nuotr.)

At a meeting at the ministry on Thursday, municipal officials agree that hosting foreigners may benefit the regions but first wanted guarantees of assistance in settling the refugees in municipalities.

“The role of municipalities is huge here. I have earlier turned to mayors to simply submit their proposals on jobs, accommodation, infrastructure, as both health and insurance – the whole package of services must be ensured (…). As far as I know, the ministry and municipalities already have proposals from residents and employers, some regions would want to host the refugees,” the minister told journalists on Thursday.

Jonava Vice-Mayor Eugenijus Sabutis said he missed state attention for his municipality which hosts the Refugees Reception Centre.

“As the refugees are not a problem of the Jonava district municipality only, but a problem of the whole state, it is our preparation, our hopes and expectations have to do with more than just us but the whole country. Therefore, we would want this to be an issue on the state agenda. We do not really feel that yet,” Sabutis said.

Klaipėda Mayor Vytautas Grubliauskas, in his turn, said municipalities wanted to know the support basket the refugees will bring along.

In an effort to ease the burden on Southern European countries, Lithuania has committed to host 255 refugees, mostly Syrian, who are currently in Italy and Greece, in addition to 70 more from Turkey.

Furthermore, Lithuanian municipalities are asked to provide accommodation to persons of Lithuanian origin and their families willing to return from eastern Ukraine and Crimea.

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