Latviski English По-русски
Ceturtdiena 20.10.2016 | Name days: Leonīda, Leonīds

European Commission hikes refugee quota for Lithuania up to 1105

(No Ratings Yet)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

French red cross members prepare a bedroom to welcome refugees from Syria and Irak at a refugee centre in Champagne, France

Linas Jegelevicius for the BNN

Just a few months ago, some Lithuanian politicians asserted Lithuania cannot accept more than several hundred refugees picked up or plucked out of the waters at the southern EU borders. But with the migrants’ tide rolling high and with the new refugee quotas proposed, the Lithuanian President herself has hurried to say that Lithuania is «capable» to accept more refugees.

The European Commission wants Lithuania to accommodate extra 780 refugees in addition to 325 agreed upon previously.

Lithuania needs to rid of hostile attitude

«This quota of additional 780 refugees is very little and is based on the EU conviction that around 200,000 refugees seek now asylum in the European Union. As it is evident that the number is way higher, there might be new demands from EU coming,» says Kęstutis Girnius, associate professor of the Institute of International Relations and Political Sciences at Vilnius University.

If all goes according to the plan, 351 out of 780 asylum seekers will be resettled from Hungary, 328- from Greece and 101 –from Italy.

Accepting 1105 refugees in total will not be «too much of a burden», believes Girnius, but for their accommodation and socialization Lithuania could ask Brussels for a bigger support.

«Around 2,000-3,000 refugees is a number that Lithuania could easily cope with if it got rid of its hostile attitude towards displaced persons,» the analyst says.

The worry over possible social problems, an aftermath of such help, is «unfounded», Girnius asserts.

«Most probably, they will not settle in Lithuania, but will be moving to richer EU member states, mostly to Germany and Sweden,» he believes.

Lithuania unpopular with asylum seekers

Until now, Lithuania was one of the least popular countries for asylum seekers. In 2014, a total of 496 asylum request applications were submitted, but only 117 of them were approved. Of all the asylum seekers, 117 came from Georgia, 99- Afghanistan, 74- Russia and 70 reached Lithuania from Ukraine. Others received the so-called enhanced protection for temporary stay in the country.

As not only Lithuania, but the whole European Union is not seemingly ready to deal with refugees, the politicians should seek «advice» with the nations, believes Girnius.

In the face of the humanitarian crisis, some of the top Lithuanian politicians have called to «embrace” refugees while others were irked over the mandatory nature of EU refugee quota distribution.

Vytenis Andriukaitis, Lithuanian Eurocommissioner, called on all to remember the history of WWII, when thousands of Lithuanians fled to the West in search of a better and safer life.

«Refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey live facing very hard conditions. The question is whether we ought to abandon them or save their lives? And if we say that we have to come to their rescue, then we have to calculate what measures have to be financed in order to satisfy their minimal living conditions….EU agreements and the fundamental principle of solidarity is mandatory to all 28 members of the bloc,» Andriukaitis was quoted as saying.

Solidarity is needed as it works both ways

Meanwhile, the leaders of major Lithuanian parties are split over the EC decision to send more refugees to Lithuania.

Social Democrats along with the Homeland Union- Lithuanian Christian Democrats (HU-LCD), or Conservatives, and Liberal Movement have endorsed the proposal, saying that Lithuania has to contribute to solving the migration crisis in Europe.

However, the Electoral Action of Poles, Order and Justice Party and Labour Party have criticized the quota distribution based on each country’s economic performance and size.

«I stand for solidarity as we, as a member of the European Union, also seek EU’s solidarity when we speak about Russia and Ukraine. Therefore, we have to show solidarity in tackling the issue,» Gabrielius Landsbergis, the HU-LCD chairman told.

He, however, wants the Lithuanian Parliament’s Committee on European Affairs to debate the issue in order to share the political responsibility.

The Lithuanian Prime Minister and chairman of Lithuania’s Social Democrat Party, Algirdas Butkevičius, was quoted by Government Communications department as saying that Lithuania «understands» the scope of the problem and will show solidarity in addressing it.

Labour leader proposes refugee camps

Valentinas Mazuronis, the chief of Labour Party, calls the EC decision on mandatory refugee quota distribution «a wrong solution».

«I disapprove it, as I believe that neither refugees, nor the majority of the states find such behaviour appropriate under the circumstances. When one or another number is forcefully drawn down upon the states, it does not address the problem from the core,» Mazuronis told BNS, a Lithuanian news agency.

According to him, the European Union has to «sort out» war refugees from economic migrants and send the latter kind back to their home countries.

The Labour Party leaders has also proposed to set up special settlements, where the refugees would be provided food, accommodation, education and other services.

«They could stay there until warfare in their home countries is over and then it would be up to the EU immigration authorities to decide who of them could stay in the European Union and who should be sent back. Today, we have an ocean of people paddling over here without any documents, scrambling over the border posts, also without any control, obviously. Among all of them there are all sorts of people,» Mazuronis emphasized.

What Europe does now, he says, is just ticking off the problem (on the list) while talking of solidarity and instilling empathy using a picture of a drowned child. But essentially, Europe is disguising is incapacity to solve the problem,» the Labour Party chairman insists.

Is Pandora’s Box opened?

Eligijus Masiulis, the leader of Liberal Movement, believes the re-distribution of refugee quotas for EU member states won’t mean «an end» to the plight until the Union comes up with «a clear plan» how to get the process under control. The Lithuanian politician is in favor of the quota system, but hints EU should resolve to «concrete actions», maybe carry out a «military operation.»

He, however, does not like the idea of having the issue of refugees put on the parliamentary floor.

«It would be a very bad precedent if the Seimas starts taking on the issues that stem directly from the European Union…It would work for the populist parties, which would use the crisis for collecting political brownie points,» says Masiulis.

Rolandas Paksas, the chairman of Order and Justice Party, believes that by the decision to re-distribute the numbers of refugees Europe has opened «Pandora’s box».

«We have sent all out there a message: yes, come over here, paddle here, drown, but if you reach Greece and Italy, then we will accommodate you – feed, integrate, provide you with lodging and so on,» Paksas told BNS. «I don’t know who is who – who is running from war and who is an economic migrant or an ordinary terrorist…I just want to tell that if we continue doing nothing, we will see the quotas raised again.»

Voldemaras Tomaševskis, the leader of the party of Electoral Action of Poles, insisted that tat Lithuania should accept refugees voluntarily, not obligated by EC quotas. He believes that Lithuania should be extending the helping hand to the Christian refugees under the persecution in the Middle East.

Topic of refugees is trending in Lithuanian media

Articles in Lithuanian media on the refugee crisis are drawing readers’ big attention, with many commentators expressing fears about the impact the resettled refugees may have on local communities’ life. One of the stories under the title «Lithuanian working in a refugee centre in Germany speaks out: people must know it», published by, has garnered a record number of posts- over 2600 – for that kind of a story. The author, whose identity is withheld, shares his experience of work at a refugee centre in a German town.

«Lithuanians got to know what they must get prepared for when the refugees start flowing to Lithuania. It won’t be easy at all, as what I see over here is really very nauseating,» the author begins his story.

«Some of them are not some miserable men at all as all they want to is to suck off the welfare system that supports them..We do whatever we can at the centre, even what is not in our duties, but there are so many refugees that the numbers are hard to perceive. We register 500 people daily and all of them need to be taken care of,» the narrator goes on.

«Some of the refugees that I see here every day are not victims at all. Part of them is real humbugs, who do not want to work anything but want to live well. Of course, Lithuania won’t avoid the obligation and will have to accept migrants. But the authority should demand right to pick up re-settlers itself. I strongly suggest bringing Eritreans to Lithuania, who are Catholics and who are very hard-working people. The others who should be helped are Yazidi Kurds, whose religion is very similar to paganism,» he continues.

«Obviously, some of them are decent people, but the majority is horrible… They massively pretend to be teenage Syrians, though in reality they are Afghanis, Pakistani, Algerians, Moroccans and Tunisians yearning for a good life. Around 80 percent of them are young healthy men in their late 20s. When asked why they don’t fight for their homeland or stay with their wives and children at home, but rather risk their life trying to get to the European Union, they tell they are married and plan to bring over their wives and kids later..It is obvious they are not Syrians…» the security guard-turned-author shares his remarks.

Ref: 020/

Leave a reply

The first container train headed for Riga departs from China

On Thursday, 20 October, Latvian Transport Minister Uldis Augulis, representatives from LDz and YXE International Container Train, multiple Chinese officials and Latvia’s ambassador in China Maris Selga saw off the first test container train from China to Riga.

Customs officials intercept hashish shipment worth EUR 2 million

Latvian State Revenue Service’s Customs Police intercepted and confiscated a shipment of more than 200 kg of hashish worth EUR 2 million, as journalists were informed by SRS Customs Police Director Kaspars Podins on Thursday, 20 October.

SA: Riga Freeport has only realized one of five of our recommendations

Latvian State Audit follows the development of the largest investment projects especially carefully, because the state does not seem to handle them all that well. Krievu Island project is one of the largest investment projects, because there is European Union finances invested in it...

Job seekers in Lithuania want Western salaries, employers dumbstruck

Although Lithuanian labour market is in desperate for workforce, but those willing to toil will nod to a job offer only if the pay is really big. So big that the country‘s hirers feel like grabbing their heads upon hearing the candidates‘ salary expectations.

Overall government budget decreased in 2015

In 2015, the general government budget deficit amounted to EUR 309.0 million or 1.3% of the gross domestic product, whereas the general government consolidated gross debt amounted to EUR 8 846.3 million or 36.3% of the GDP.

SP: claims about Motorola’s murderer are an attempt to show Latvia as the enemy

Latvian Security Police views claims that Donetsk military commander Arseny Pavlov, aka Motorola, was allegedly killed by a hired killer from Latvia named Marks Ozolins is nothing more than yet another attempt at information war aimed to demonstrate Latvia and its citizens and enemies.

Estonian President Kaljulaid not to ask state to pay rent

Estonia’s new President Kersti Kaljulaid will not ask the state to pay rent for using her home unlike the former head of state Toomas Hendrik Ilves did.

Every third coin with Milda’s image has made its way to Europe

Every third euro coin with Milda’s image has found its way to Europe. The proportion of those coins in Latvia is 71% of all euro coins in circulation, according to monitoring data compiled by Citadele Bank’s CBL Cash Logistics service.

Estonia plans to increase female proportion in military

Estonia has announced plans to triple female involvement in the country’s Defence Forces and to expand the list of units accessible to woman soldiers by 2018.

Pre-paid mobile card users to be registered as part of a plan to reduce grey economy

At the meeting of state secretaries on 20 October, a proposal was presented from the transport ministry to begin registration of mobile pre-paid card users.

Next year’s budget plan and other decisions viewed by Saeima this week

On Thursday, 20 October, the Saeima will gather for an extraordinary meeting, during which deputies will discuss the next year’s budget plan and 57 associated legal drafts.

European Space Agency attempts to re-connect to its Mars probe

The European Space Agency has lost contact with its Mars probe on October 19 shortly prior to its planned landing on the planet.

Klauss withdraws from SRS personnel selection process

Kristaps Klauss, executive directors of Latvian Forest Industry Federation, has decided to withdraw from State Revenue Service’s personnel selection process.

Lembergs to continue testifying in court at the end of October

Aivars Lembergs, who is accused of serious crimes, will continue testifying in his own criminal case on 31 October, as confirmed by Riga Regional Court’s press-secretary Raimonds Locmelis.

Germany: No miracles accomplished at Normandy quartet negotiations in Berlin

Following the October 19 summit talks in Berlin over ending the Donbas War, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has evaluated that no miracles have been accomplished.

Rumours state Donetsk militant commander Motorola was killed by Latvian mercenary

On Wednesday, 19 October, rumours began surfacing on Ukrainian and Russian websites that Donetsk pro-Moscow militant commander Arseny Pavlov, aka Motorola, was possibly killed by Latvian mercenary named Marks Ozolins.

Clocks to be turned one hour back at the end of October

Daylight saving time will end in Latvia and elsewhere in the world on 30 October, when clocks will have to be turned one hour back.

More than half of businesses in Latvia have a website

63.5% of enterprises in Latvia had a website at the beginning 2016, which was 4.5 percentage points more than in 2015. Similarly to previous years, at the beginning of the present year a website was set up by most of the accommodation service and information and communication service providers.

Maxima in Estonia also attracts Latvians tackling shortage of workers

With many retailers in Estonia struggling to find workers for modestly-paid jobs, Lithuanian retail giant Maxima is attracting Estonians for afar and even Latvians to fill the vacant places.

Russia plans to apply discount on transit from Belarus equal to tariffs for Baltic ports

Russian Railways plans to consider the possibility to apply 25% discount for petrol, diesel fuel and crude transit from oil processing plants in Belarus to Russia’s north-west ports. This would provide tariffs equal to those applied for Baltic ports, as reported by Kommersant.

Grybauskaitė: Deploying Iskanders to Kaliningrad – agressive move against European capitals

The sending of nuclear-capable Iskander rockets to Russia’s western-most territory in Kaliningrad is an aggressive move against Europe’s capitals, evaluated Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė on October 18.

Dzintars: two crises in a row caused major decline in volume of sales

Legal protection process is a voluntary choice of the debtor if they experience financial difficulties but wish to continue economic activities. Two consecutive crises of 2008 and 2014 caused a sharp decline in the market and resulted in a deficit of turnover funds, notes Dzintars cosmetics manufacturer board member Dagnija Maike.

Names of SRS manager selection contest candidates become known

Candidates that have made it to the third stage of the selection process for the post of director general to the State Revenue Service include Andris Nikitins, Kaspars Rumba, Kristaps Klauss and Ilze Cirule, as reported by Panorāma programme of LTV.

EC: Rail Baltica route’s crossing of Vitrupe Valley is unacceptable

The European Commission urges Latvia to comply with environmental protection acts and take into account the report of its environmental institutions on how it is unacceptable to allow Rail Baltica’s Salacrgiva section to go through Vitrupe Valley.

Belgium seeks to convince Wallonia region over Ceta

Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders has stated on October 18 that European Union member states could reach an agreement on the EU-Canada trade deal in case the objections of the Belgian region of Wallonia can be met.