The issue of refugees to be received by Lithuania should be discussed by the Political Council of the ruling coalition and presented at the parliament, says Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius.
Algirdas Butkevičius
© DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij

This should be done amid the changed situation when news from the European Commission (EC) are expected in connection to new distribution of the refugees among European Union (EU) member-states, Butkevičius told BNS.

"I have decided that the issue should be discussed at the Political Council. We were willing to make a rather quick decision in the first case but now I think that the issue should be presented at the parliament as well," the PM said in a telephone interview from Jerusalem.

On Monday, Parliamentary Speaker Loreta Graužinienė stated that Lithuania's position on refugee numbers, once discussed by the government, should be discusses by the entire parliament, not just the European Affairs Committee. The proposal was supported by Interior Minister Saulius Skvernelis, while European Affairs Committee's chairman Gediminas Kirkilas said it was unnecessary.

Europe is currently faced with the biggest refugee crisis since World War Two. Between January and August, about 350,000 migrants arrived in the EU. In an effort to ease the burden for southern Europe, Brussels will this week officially propose to resettle 120,000 refugees from Italy, Greece and Hungary to different countries.

This summer, EU member-states agreed on voluntary distribution of 32,000 refugees. Lithuania's government has committed to accepting 325 refugees over the next two years, but it acknowledged earlier this week that the number is likely to increase. Just like other Central and Eastern European nations, Lithuania has so far disagreed with the proposals to set mandatory refugee quotas.

BNS
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