Commission: Estonia has fulfilled one pledge of refugee distribution plan ({{commentsTotal}})

Idomeni refugee camp in Greece, March 2016.
Idomeni refugee camp in Greece, March 2016. Source: (Johannes Tralla/ERR)

By resettling 20 people from Turkey, Estonia is one European country to already fulfill their pledge regarding the resettlement plan that is part of the European refugee distribution deal, the European Commission said.

"Significant progress has been achieved so far on resettlement, with well beyond half of the 22,504 resettlements agreed upon under the Conclusions of July 20, 2015 already completed," the Commission said in the Tenth Report on Relocation and Resettlement published on Thursday. "Since February 6, 2016, 454 people have been resettled mainly from Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. As of February 27, 2017, 14,422 people have been resettled to 21 states."

According to the report, Estonia, Ireland, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and the U.K. as well as associated countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland have already fulfilled their pledges.

Estonia pledged to accept 20 war refugees from outside of the EU under the resettlement plan, all of whom have arrived in Estonia by now. The last of the people accepted under that arrangement, nine Syrians, arrived in Estonia from Turkey in February; the first 11 Syrians arrived in the country from Turkey in August 2016.

Estonia has also pledged to accept up to 200 additional war refugees under the agreement concluded between EU and Turkey. That commitment will not increase Estonia's overall obligation to accept 550 refugees under the EU migrant distribution plan.

Regarding the relocation of refugees, although there has been a progressive increase in the pace of relocations, with 13,546 persons relocated as of Feb. 28, this represents less than 14 percent of the legal obligation allocated by the Council thus far — 106,000 persons for both Italy and Greece. At the current pace, the total number of people relocated will be far below the obligations set for September 2017, the Commission noted.

It added that only a few countries — namely Estonia, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal and Finland — are currently well on track to meet their relocation obligations for Greece.

Overall, during the past year, Estonia has accepted a total of 107 Syrian, Yemeni and Iraqi refugees under the EU migrant plan, most of them from Greece.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS