Last Update: 12:55
There have been over 16,000 migrants seeking asylum relocated from both Italy and Greece to other EU countries over the past two years, which is a new record for the bloc, the EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos told reporters on Wednesday.
“We have already relocated more than 16,000 so far in total, of which more than 2,400 in the last reporting period. With this, Member States, even though not all of them are participating, have set a new record on relocation,” Avramopoulos said.
In total there are some 14,000 migrants ready for resettlement in other EU countries under the asylum program, while Italy is housing 3,500 migrants ready to be relocated.
The resettlement program for refugees began in September 2015 and thus far a mere 8,766 refugees have been transferred from Greece to resettle in other EU countries — nowhere near the end-of-year goal for 2017 that aims to have 60,000 refugees resettled.
The EU Migration Commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos said back in February 2017 that although recent months have seen the pace pick up some that it is still not enough.
“…For our efforts to match the scale of the challenge in both the EU frontline member-states as well as our neighborhood, more needs to be done, and faster,” Avramopoulos said noting that more efforts need to be done in order to reach the 2,000 relocations per month goal the program has set in place.
To date there are over 60,000 migrants and refugees trapped in Greece as other EU countries have closed their borders.