Portugal already waiting two months for EU to send on refugees

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 05-11-2015 11:32:00 · 1 Comments

The president of the Portuguese Council for Refugees (CPR), Teresa Tito de Morais, has described as "inadmissible" the fact that organisations preparing to receive refugees under the European Union's new system for distributing them have been waiting for two months to do so.

Many of the refugees are living in dire conditions in the camps where they are awaiting their transfer to their assigned new country, she noted.

Portugal is to receive some 4,500 people, under the EU's Refugee Relocation Programme, as agreed in September. Non-governmental organisations, as well as local authorities, involved in the process have drafted a plan to receive them, but still do not know when the first group will arrive.

"The situation is inadmissible and shocks [us], given the urgent need for people to get out," Morais told Lusa. "It's shocking that the pace should be so slow."

The fact that the system is in place in Portugal to receive people makes the situation still worse, she added.

So far, only Sweden and Finland have received refugees under the EU programme.

"Europe must be answerable for not acting with the speed and urgency that is needed," Morais said. As well as Portugal, Spain and France are awaiting the migrants' arrival.

On Wednesday, the first group of 30 migrants left Athens for Luxembourg, under the EU scheme, which is aimed at relieving the pressure on Greece and Italy, where the bulk of the arrivals are.

The executive director of Frontex, the EU border agency, released new figures on Wednesday that show 800,000 migrants illegally entering member states so far this year.

According to figures from the United Nations, more than 744,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean this year bound for EU member states, above all Greece.

Meanwhile, another 45 people are expected to arrive this year in Portugal, under a separate resettlement programme under which the country has since 2007 been committed to receiving at least 30 refugees a year.


It is clear that the authorities in Portugal have not understood the migration problem . Migrants want to choose where they go in the EU , and Portugal is one of the last places they would choose , a bad economy , no work prospects and a generally poor country .

By PG from Lisbon on 08-11-2015 06:29
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