The migrant crisis in the European Union continues to prove a difficult challenge for the bloc with a number of issues having arisen during the past few years. A common issue among the Baltic states is a combination of accepting and retaining migrants. Under the two-year EU programme, only 45 had arrived in Latvia by last June and only 20 people have stayed in the country.
As Director of the Red Cross in Latvia Uldis Likops points out, “Latvia is not as wealthy as certain other EU member states such as Germany, Sweden or other Scandinavian countries, where they [the refugees] mostly go. They have not understood that the EU member states are not identical, that Latvia is not that wealthy.”
Latvia provides payments of €139 to the head of a refugee family and €97 for a second family member. To compare, Lithuania offers €204 and €102, respectively, and in Poland the payments are €309 and €216.
Even after leaving the country, the refugees are entitled to the benefits for nine more months, a realisation that has caused an uproar in Latvia. The country's government has rushed to change the law, but it will take another year to come into effect.
In Lithuania, refugees stop receiving benefits one month after leaving the country.
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