Grybauskaite defends payment cuts to refugees

  • 2015-12-10

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite has defended the recent decision to cut social payments for refugees, saying it would increase their integration.

Grybauskaite added the move would be fair in regard to Lithuanian citizens.

The president named France and Belgium as an example where she said, migrants "lived in ghettos, received big payments and did not work."

"There's a risk that in those ghettos they will be radicalised and pose a threat to our society," Grybauskaite said in an interview published on December 10, 2015. 

The president also said that "we cannot pay more to refugees that to people of Lithuania."

Last month, Lithuania’s social security and labor minister announced the decision to cut the one-off settlement payment to refugees to 204 euros from 456 euros.

It was explained they would also receive the monthly EUR 204 payment only for six months and it would be halved by the seventh month.

According to Grybauskaite, 204 euros “is as much as 83 percent" of the average pension in Lithuania. 

However, United Nations officials and NGOs say refugees will not have time to find their own source of living and will live in poverty after the decision to cut payments to refugees and the time of their payment.

The first Iraqi family is scheduled to arrive in Lithuania from Greece next week under the European Union’s relocation program.