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Old 05-18-2016, 04:58 AM
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I don't feel like starting a new thread so I'll just resurrect this one. Much to almost no-one's surprise, there are problems with relocating the refugees from Greece and Italy. However, the anecdotal evidence of "I heard of this one guy...", now the numbers are speaking clearly. A large number of the refugees refuse their refuge if it's not in UK or Germany. linky

Quote:
Originally Posted by Financial Times


Refugees in Greece refuse to relocate across EU

Duncan Robinson in Brussels and Kerin Hope in Athens


One in seven asylum seekers in the EU’s flagship scheme to relocate refugees throughout the bloc has either refused to be moved or “absconded”, according to figures provided by the Greek government.

The policy, agreed last year after considerable acrimony, was designed to spread more evenly the EU’s refugee burden by relocating 160,000 asylum seekers from frontline states Greece and Italy to other members of the bloc.

But it is being challenged by many asylum seekers’ refusal to go to poorer member states, such as Bulgaria and Romania.


Of the 1,324 people processed as part of the relocation scheme so far, 191 have dropped out or simply disappeared, say Greek officials.

As of last week, Bulgaria had agreed to accept 47 asylum seekers from Greece. But when they were told they were being sent there, 36 withdrew from the programme while another seven “absconded”, according to the Greek government. In the end, only four were moved.

The situation was similar in Romania, where 32 of the 67 asylum seekers destined to be sent there disappeared or quit the relocation programme. In the case of Estonia, eight out of 27 people absconded rather than be sent to the Baltic state.


Even those being sent to rich, diverse countries such as France have opted out of the scheme. Out of 388 asylum seekers due to be sent to France from Greece, 24 absconded while two others dropped out.

Fotini Rantsiou, a former UN staffer working as a consultant on refugee issues, blamed the high dropout rate on asylum seekers’ fears that they will be allocated a country far removed from friends and family.

“As the process drags on, some people get discouraged,” said Ms Rantsiou. “They feel they won’t get to where their relatives are, so they drop out altogether.”

Anastasia Mavrou, a social worker and volunteer at a tent camp near Athens, said it was common for officials to lose track of asylum seekers. “There’s a lot of mobility among the refugees,” she said. “They switch addresses and mobile phone numbers quite often so can’t be reached by the asylum agency.”

Greek and European officials face a backlog of 46,000 asylum seekers and migrants who are stuck on the country’s mainland. Macedonia shut its border with Greece earlier this spring, leaving tens of thousands stranded in worsening conditions within the country.

Although Greek officials had put forward 3,126 for relocation, other EU countries that signed off the deal had agreed to accept just 1,791 as of last week.

“Even in the best of circumstances — manageable flows, low political salience, time for governments to prepare, pilot and adjust — relocation would still perhaps take years to develop as a viable means of distribution,” said Elizabeth Collett, director of the Migration Policy Institute Europe.

“Implemented on the hoof in the midst of political battle, with limited, diverted attention from the Greek government, and unprepared recipient states, these low numbers are disappointing but not particularly surprising.”

The sealed land border and the sluggish progress on relocation has led to a brewing humanitarian crisis in the country.

Despite the Greek government agreeing, in conjunction with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, to set up accommodation for 50,000 refugees by the end of 2015, Greece is still suffering from a shortfall in accommodation. At the moment, the country has shelter for barely 35,000 migrants on its mainland.
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