First 25 refugee children from Greece to Finland in June
Finland has expressed a preference for girls from the refugee camps.
The Finnish Immigration Service (Migri) says that the first group of 25 children from Mediterranean refugee camps will arrive in Finland next month, to be followed by another group of the same size in July. Finland has agreed to accept 175 vulnerable asylum seekers from the camps.
Last year Greece asked other EU countries to help take in asylum seekers from its overcrowded camps, particularly unaccompanied minors. However the process has been slowed down by the corona crisis.
Most of the minors in the camps on the Greek islands have fled fighting in Syria and Afghanistan.
In February Finland agreed to take in 175 asylum seekers from camps in Greece, Cyprus, Malta and Italy. The Finnish government expressed a preference for unaccompanied minors – particularly girls – as well as single parents with children.
So far Finland is the only Nordic country to respond to the Greek request, while Lithuania is the only one of the Baltic states.
First groups to Finland in June and July
Greece is preparing a list of nearly 2,000 children and youth deemed to be in vulnerable positions. Greece and EU officials will try to determine which country would be most suitable for each one, and the asylum seekers will also be able to express their preference.
Finland will then have approval over the list of proposed people.
“It looks like the first major transfers will take place in June to Finland, Germany and Portugal,” says Monna Airiainen, internal relocation coordinator at Migri’s Asylum Unit.