Refugees will be relocated from camps in Greece, Turkey or Italy directly to Lithuanian municipalities that will be willing and ready to take them in, Social Security and Labour Minister Linas Kukuraitis said on Friday.
Refugees
© AP / Scanpix

"I want to underline that asylum seekers will be provided with housing and be integrated only in those municipalities that will be ready for this integration," the minister said in a press release.

"It is also important to emphasize that all integration measures for the refugees we are accepting under Lithuania's commitments to the EU are financed exclusively from the EU's refugee resettlement funds. Our national budget funds are not being used for this purpose. This means that refugee accommodation costs, benefits, language training, education, psychological assistance and all other measures are financed exclusively from EU funds," he said.

Only six families of asylum seekers are planned to be directly integrated into municipalities starting in April, Kukuraitis said.

"That would be a pilot project and only if it proves to work well will we think about expanding this scheme," he said,

The Social Security and Labour Ministry said that each municipality has already appointed a coordinator to deal with refugee integration issues, adding that it closely cooperates with local authorities on refugee integration.

Lithuania has pledged to take in a total of 1,105 refugees under the EU's resettlement program by next September. Some 254 asylum seekers have been relocated to date, including 229 from Greece and 25 from Turkey. Some 142 of them have already left Lithuania for another EU countries.

Eighteen people relocated from Greece currently live in Lithuanian municipalities, including 11 in Vilnius, five in Kaunas and one in Jonava and Kėdainiai each.

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