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Lithuania won't slow down pace of accepting refugees

VILNIUS – Lithuania will not slow down the pace of relocation of refugees after expiry of the European Union's (EU) two-year program, says Interior Minister Eimutis Misiunas.

In his words, the pace has reduced over the past two months, as Italy and Greece cannot prepare documents in time due to a large wave of asylum-seekers.

"Lithuania is indeed ready, it is doing everything to be able to relocate. But both Greece and Italy are behind schedule to prepare the necessary documentation (…), they do not collect the necessary information in time," Misiunas told BNS.

The minister said he had been assured by colleagues that the problems would shortly be settled and new people should come shortly.

In September, the European Commission recommendations to continue refugee relocation from Italy and Greece in accordance to the 2015 quotas. A commitment was then established that 160,000 refugees from Syria, Iraq and Eritrea would be distributed among EU member-states by the end of September of 2017.

According to data provided by the European Commission, the community's countries accepted merely around 29,000 persons.

Misiunas said Lithuania was looking quite good in the general context, receiving 414 persons from its quota of 1,105 people, mainly Syrians from Greek camps.

However, observers question the efficiency of the program, as over 300 of the refugees later left Lithuania.

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