Lithuania ready to welcome migrants from Italy – EURACTIV.com

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Lithuania is ready to welcome migrants who entered Italy illegally if the European Union solidarity mechanism is activated, Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė said on Thursday.

In June, the EU Council adopted a new migration pact aimed at tackling irregular migration, including by introducing a solidarity mechanism requiring countries to welcome asylum seekers based on their size and economy. Member States will now have to pay 20,000 euros for each asylum seeker they refuse to accept.

“We certainly have the capacity to accommodate the specified number of migrants, but (…) the mechanism must be activated. For the moment, there is no final agreement on this,” Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė told the press on Wednesday.

When asked which option Lithuania would choose, Šimonytė replied that the conditions for receiving migrants were met.

“I believe that the option which would allow us to welcome people suits us perfectly because we managed to welcome several thousand people in 2021,” said the Prime Minister.

“Since we are ready and able to receive them, we can certainly accept that many people. And 80,000 other Ukrainians,” she added.

Currently, most irregular migrants from Africa arrive in Greece and Italy, with a recent increase in arrivals on the Italian island of Lampedusa.

The Baltic states and Poland have also seen an influx of border crossings in recent years, accusing Belarus of opening a corridor for irregular migration in response to EU sanctions.

(Charles Szumski | Euractiv.com)

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