Over 10,000 refugees re­lo­cated, IOM says

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

More than 10,000 asy­lum seek­ers from Syria, Iraq and Eritrea have been re­lo­cated from Greece to other Euro­pean Union states since the launch of the bloc’s re­lo­ca­tion pro­gram in 2015, ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Mi­gra­tion, which is im­ple­ment­ing the scheme.

Since the be­gin­ning of March, 367 peo­ple have left Greece for Bel­gium, Es­to­nia, Ger­many, Malta, Por­tu­gal, Slove­nia and Spain, bring­ing the to­tal num­ber of peo­ple re­lo­cated from Greece to 10,004, IOM said yes­ter­day. Over the same pe­riod, an­other 475 peo­ple were re­lo­cated from Italy.

The to­tal num­ber of peo­ple re­lo­cated from Greece and Italy since the pro­gram was launched in Oc­to­ber 2015 now stands at 14,439, the or­ga­ni­za­tion said.

“We have seen a steady in­crease of pledges and ac­cep­tance from par­tic­i­pat­ing EU coun­tries in the past few months. At this rate, there will be a fur­ther 15,000 to 18,000 re­lo­ca­tions from Greece by the end of the pro­gram,” said Eu­ge­nio Am­brosi, di­rec­tor of IOM’s Re­gional Of­fice for the EU, Nor­way and Switzer­land.

The num­bers are short of the orig­i­nal tar­get as 66,400 places had been al­lo­cated for re­lo­ca­tion from Greece and 39,600 from Italy.

“We con­tinue to en­cour­age EU mem­ber-states to fol­low through fully on their com­mit­ments,” Am­brosi said.

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