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Finland Says to Take in Eligible Asylum-seekers From Countries Like Syria, Afghanistan

Finland Says to Take in Eligible Asylum-seekers From Countries Like Syria, Afghanistan

Saturday, 22 February, 2020 - 13:15
Medical staff transfer the body of a migrant into an ambulance at the port of Preveza on January 11, 2020, after a boat carrying asylum-seekers sank. (Photo by Yorgos Eusthathiou / Eurokinissi / AFP)
Asharq Al-Awsat

The Finnish government announced on Saturday that it has agreed to take in up to 175 asylum-seekers from camps in Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Malta "to alleviate the humanitarian situation" experienced by refugees in the Mediterranean members of the European Union.

The Finnish interior ministry in its statement that the Nordic country of 5.5 million would wish to bring in primarily "vulnerable asylum seekers" of children and single-parent families eligible for international protection from countries such as Syria and Afghanistan.

"It is important that Finland, as the EU's external border state (through its long border with Russia), is involved in finding solutions both to the acute situation (in the Mediterranean Sea) and how to create a sustainable European asylum system," said Finnish Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo.

The ministry didn't provide schedule for patriations but said asylum-seekers would be picked from the four nations "depending on where the situation is the most serious," the Associated Press reported.

In the past few months Italy, which has been under a heavy burden from African refugees arriving across the Mediterranean Sea, has allowed charity ships to disembark rescued migrants at its ports on condition that other EU nations agree to take some of the asylum-seekers.

Several EU nations have done so, making good on pledges to share the migrant burden at a conference in Malta last year.

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