The Baltics are not thrilled to share the burden of European refugee crisis


June 11, 2015

Translated by Kristina Rus

Grybauskaite called resettlement of all Africans to Europe impossible

President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite said that Vilnius is ready to receive three times fewer refugees from Africa, than is provided by the migrant allocation formula, presented by the European Commission (EC), reports TASS.

“According to our calculations, which we will present to the European Commission, Lithuania is able to accommodate up to 250 people,” – said the President, explaining that this figure was derived taking into account the population and GDP of the country.

According to Grybauskaite, the proposal of Brussels, according to which Lithuania should take in 710 people, is “unjust and inappropriate way of solving the problem of refugees”. “You cannot relocate the entire Africa to Europe”, — she emphasized.

Prime Minister Algirdas Butkyavičyus in turn declared that Lithuania may host no more than 30-40 migrants, reports “The Baltic Course”.

On June 7 the Minister of Internal Affairs of Latvia, Richard Kozlowskis talked about the inability to take the required number of refugees, reports Delfi. According to the plan of the European Commission, this Baltic country must host the 737 people from Syria and Eritrea.

“The politicians presented the decision of Brussels to the public as if there is a hurricane approaching from the West, which needs to be prepared for and endured,” – said Latvian political commentator Cristians Rozenvalds in an interview with Deutsche Welle . He also stressed that the country still has not developed a mechanism of adaptation of migrants and refugees.

Estonia also contested the quota for migrants announced by Brussels. The EC expects Tallinn to host 443 refugees from Italy and 295 from Greece [originally from Africa]. In response, the Estonian government announced that Estonia’s population is 0.26 per cent of the EU population, can take 1.63 percent from 20 thousand refugees (326 people).

In April 2015 the European Commission has proposed a plan under which refugees should be distributed across the EU countries in proportion to their population, economy, quality of life and other factors. The purpose of this measure is to reduce the burden on countries, including Italy, Greece and Malta, where the main stream of migrants from North Africa is directed.  10 of 28 EU countries spoke out against mandatory quotas for hosting migrants  (France, UK, Spain, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia).

KR: A few hundred here and there does not look like a significant number, but how will this number increase due to hunger, conflicts and wars? Once you have got all the EU countries on the hook with quotas, will the stream of refugees continue at the same rate or even strengthen? 

Latvia lost 500,000 people since independence from USSR due to the exodus of Russians, as well Latvians searching for work in the EU. People were fleeing from, not to Latvia. Likely this was not the way Latvia, or any other Baltic countries experiencing the same demographic problems wanted to beef up their population numbers. 

The big question is, will the EU think harder next time before supporting American military adventures and regime changes in North Africa and the Middle East, since it has to bear the consequences?

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