President Grybauskaite: Lithuania able to accept "up to 250 refugees"

  • 2015-06-10
  • George East/TBT staff, Vilnius

According to Lithuanian President, Dalia Grybauskaite, the country could take in up to 250 refugees affected by the Mediterranean Crisis. 

On May 27, Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius said Lithuania is “not yet ready” to accept the quota of refugees proposed by the European Commission, which would would see the country take in 710 refugees by 2017.

As an alternative, he said ministers and the government are drafting a resolution stating Lithuania can take 30-40 refugees. 

However, June 10 saw Grybauskaite reveal to a delegation of journalists the number has increased to 250.

“According to our calculations and the proposals we have submitted to the European Commission, our number would be up to 250 refugees,” she said. 

“This is the number I will propose the government approves in its resolution next week.”

Grybauskaite explained the increase was the result of a formula based on Lithuania's population and Gross Domestic Product. 

She also feels the European Commission’s formula behind the conclusion Lithuania can host up to 710 refugees is “difficult to comprehend,” and she believes the passive distribution of those affected is a solution that is “unfair and doesn’t make sense.” 

“We cannot resettle all of Africa to Europe anyway,” Grybauskaite explained. “We can see obvious and clear signs of a trafficking business.

“Therefore, passive response and the mere distribution of those affected by the Mediterranean Crisis across Europe would only contribute to the prosperity of the business.” 

In an effort to solve the migration crisis in the Mediterranean Sea, the European Commission has suggested resettling some of the refugees arriving in Italy and Greece from Africa; 710 of which would be resettled in Lithuania. 

By 2017, 302 would arrive from Italy, 201 from Greece and 207 from a third and yet to be decided country.