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Brussels applauds Catalonia’s offer to host refugees and calls for Madrid’s support

EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos stated that “all levels of governance can contribute” to the European Commission’s commitments to tackle the refuges crisis. In a letter addressed to Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, Avramopoulos considered Catalonia’s offer to host 4,500 refugees “a step in the right direction” and called for the offer to become a reality as soon as possible. He also lamented that Spain had “only relocated 18 migrants” besides having committed to “assisting 6,127” refugees. “These schemes have to be implemented as a matter of urgency” to “ensure that the Union takes on its fair share of the global responsibility to provide a safe haven for the world's refugees”, stated the letter. Avramopoulos also expressed his will for Spain’s government to “support” Catalonia’s efforts in this matter, as it is “responsible for the implementation of the relevant EU decisions”.

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18 April 2016 02:36 PM

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ACN

Brussels (CNA).- EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos welcomed Catalonia’s offer to host 4,500 refugees and considered it “a step in the right direction”. “The sooner your offer becomes reality, the better for the refugees”, he stated in a letter addressed to Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and emphasised that “all levels of governance can contribute” to the European Commission’s commitments to tackle this “challenge”. He also lamented that Spain had “only relocated 18 migrants” besides having committed to “assisting 6,127” refugees. “These schemes have to be implemented as a matter of urgency” to “ensure that the Union takes on its fair share of the global responsibility to provide a safe haven for the world's refugees”, stated the letter. Avramopoulos also expressed his will for Spain’s government to “support” Catalonia’s efforts in this matter, as it is “responsible for the implementation of the relevant EU decisions”.


In the letter, Avramopoulos insisted on the EU’s need “to stand steadfast in meeting our legal and moral commitments to those who need protection from war and persecution”. In this vein, he thanked Catalonia’s offer to host 4,500 refugees. “In this context, your active policy to assist and integrate migrants in need of international protection in your region is a step in the right direction”, he stated and invited the Catalan government to “coordinate” its efforts with the Spanish government, “which is responsible for the implementation of the relevant EU decisions”.

Avramopoulos also informed President Puigdemont that the letter had been forwarded to Spanish Minister for Home Affairs Jorge Fernández Díaz and assured him that he is “confident that he will support” Catalonia’s efforts.

Spain has “only relocated 18 migrants” so far

Avramopoulos explained that “two legally binding decisions” have been established “to better share responsibility among Member States” which would guarantee the “temporary and exceptional relocation” of 160,000 applicants from Greece and Italy. The EC also proposed that “54,000 places be made available for the purpose of resettling Syrians from Turkey to the EU in clear need of international protection”. Under this mechanism, “Spain committed to assisting 6,127 migrants” but has “so far, only relocated 18 migrants from Italy”, lamented Avramopoulos.

“Moreover, Spain also committed to resettling 1,449 refugees from refugee camps in the Middle East, Northern Africa and the Horn of Africa in the context of the first EU-wide resettlement scheme for 22,504 agreed in July 2015”, he added.

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  • Image of EU's migration Commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos, at the European Commission (by ACN)

  • Image of EU's migration Commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos, at the European Commission (by ACN)