INTERNATIONAL, 17 March 2017 – European Union countries have welcomed more than 14,000 asylum-seekers from Greece and Italy since October 2015, the United Nations migration agency today announced, encouraging EU member states to follow through on their commitments.
“Not only does relocation demonstrate cooperation, solidarity and a genuine Union,” said Laura Thompson, Deputy Director of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), “it has also made a big difference for each of the nearly 14,500 people that have relocated from Greece and Italy to start new lives in other EU member States.”
The majority of the beneficiaries are Syrian and Iraqi, at 81 per cent and 14 per cent, respectively.
Germany (3,093), France (2,764) and the Netherlands (1,486) have received the most asylum-seekers to date under the programme.
In addition, Finland and Malta have accepted large numbers of people. About 207 unaccompanied migrant children have been accepted by Finnish authorities, IOM noted.
The programme is being implemented by IOM in close cooperation with Greek and Italian authorities and other agencies, with the continuing support of the European Commission, EU member and associated States, and other partners.
To help people integrate into their new communities, the UN agency holds pre-departure and post-arrival orientation and reception sessions, providing information about individual rights and obligations.
According to its press release, IOM provides additional support and care to unaccompanied migrant children, pregnant women, newborns and migrants with special medical needs, such as escorts during travel and interpreters.