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The Member States of the European Union have to get the refugee resettlement system working as soon as possible, and agree upon the list of safe countries of origin, Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) Kalle Palling said.

“Today’s situation, where the refugees have moved mainly to Germany, Sweden and Finland, and in Greece and Italy it is hard to find people who would be ready to resettle anywhere else than in these countries, cannot last long,” Kalle Palling said. “Although these countries are all very open and helpful countries, even their ability to deal with a very large number of refugees in a short time is limited.”

It is predicted that this year 160,000 refugees will arrive in Sweden. So far, Estonia has agreed to receiving 573 refugees in the course of two years.

“The list of safe countries of origin is necessary so that the people coming from these countries could be efficiently sent back to their homelands from the border of the European Union. It would enable to help the refugees who are in the greatest need of protection and assistance more quickly,” Palling noted.

The list of safe countries of origin would include the countries where there is no war or persecution, thus the people coming from these countries are not in need of international protection. Establishing of the list would make sending the people who have come to the European Union for economic reasons, as job seekers, back to their home countries more operative.

This year, around 770,000 refugees have entered the European Union; more than 200,000 refugees arrived in October.

Today, Minister of the Interior Hanno Pevkur gave the European Union Affairs Committee an overview of Estonia’s positions at the extraordinary meeting of the ministers of justice and home affairs on 9 November, where the migration crisis will be discussed. Pevkur assured that it was not planned to make any new agreements on migration issues at the meeting, and mainly an exchange of information on receiving the refugees would take place.

Photos of the sitting

Riigikogu Press Service
Urmas Seaver
Phone: +372 631 6352; +372 50 39 907
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