Since the European Union adopted its relocation scheme for asylum-seekers in September 2015, Bulgaria has accepted 29 from Greece and none from Italy – a number far short of the original plan.
This emerges from an update issued on February 8 2017, which said that across the EU, 11 966 people had been relocated.
Under the emergency relocation scheme, asylum seekers with a high chance of having their applications successfully processed are relocated from Greece and Italy, where they have arrived, to other EU countries where they will have their asylum applications processed.
If these applications are successful, the applicants will be granted refugee status with the right to reside in the EU countries to which they are relocated. The EU budget provides financial support to the participating member states.
The September 2015 proposal by the European Commission provided for the relocation of 1600 people to Bulgaria.
“Further efforts are still needed from member states to sustain the progress made and reach the monthly targets set by the Commission of 1000 relocations from Italy and 2000 from Greece,” the European Commission said in its February 8 statement.
European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “The past months have seen progress on both relocation and resettlement.
“But for our efforts to match the scale of the challenge in both the EU frontline member states as well as our neighbourhood, more needs to be done, and faster. Relocating all those eligible in Italy and Greece is possible but it takes political will, commitment and perseverance of all member States to make it happen,” Avramopoulos said.
(Archive photo: Jamie Dettmer/VOA)