EU Commission criticises Baltics for excessive requirements for asylum-seekers' admission

  • 2016-08-08
  • BNS/LETA/TBT Staff/Riga

Latvia, alongside Lithuania and Estonia, has drawn the European Commission's criticism over its hesitation to house refugees, the LNT commercial TV channel reported Friday.

Brussels says the three Baltic countries have neglected to relocate asylum-seekers without sufficient reason, as they have been unable to meet the Baltics' exorbitant conditions.

The Latvian government has established specific criteria for the asylum-seekers it would be willing to admit from Greece and Italy, and these criteria were developed to ensure that the immigrants are able to integrate into Latvian society. Latvia wants to relocate families with children, and educated people with foreign language skills and work experience. Lithuania and Estonia have set similar conditions.

The Baltics’ criteria have displeased Brussels. In its most recent monthly report, the European Commission remarked that "Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have rejected relocation requests without providing substantiated reasons or on grounds other than those specified in the Council Decisions on relocation."

This criticism has now resurfaced in the second consecutive report. The European Commission's representative Kristine Liepina stressed that the Baltic nations’ denial of asylum is hinged on logic that is known only to themselves and oppose international human rights standards.

"There are only two criteria based on which someone can be refused asylum or relocation within Europe. One reason is that this person poses a threat to other people's security, namely, to local society. And another reason, of course, is if this person poses a threat to international security," Liepina stated.

While the report has a recommendatory tone, the European Commission is pressing the member states to acknowledge the situation.

Representatives of the Interior Ministry asserted that Latvia has declined admission certain refugees. The ministry's representatives stated that the asylum refusals had been due to "national security interests."