Refugee children, many of whom arrived in Greece and Italy unaccompanied by adults, are a top priority for the EU resettlement program that allows those migrants qualified to resettle in EU countries. However, the Visigrad Group made up of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia have been less than willing to accept migrants as part of the resettlement scheme.
Mouzalas recently spoke to Euronews where he spoke of the Visegrad Group’s shameful stance towards refugees and trying to ultimately block the process of the EU resettlement program in the European Court.
“…they try to block (the resettlement program) by starting legal proceedings in the European Court and also by launching a new model, called ‘flexible solidarity.’ What is this model? They say to us: ‘Keep the refugees and we shall send you blankets’.”
UNHCR released a report on November 1 titled Child Asylum Seekers in Europe, Situation in Figures which reiterates the frustration felt by Minister Mouzalas.
“As of mid-October, barely 4% (6,061 people) out of the 160,000 relocation quota for member states have been met, and only 1,700 children in total (mainly Syrians) have been relocated – some 1,600 from Greece and around 100 from Italy,” the report says.
Also the report points out that most of the children relocated from Greece in specific have been resettled in France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Finland and Spain.
In all, UNHCR reports that for unaccompanied minors the numbers are extremely concerning as it says that “Only 93 (or less than 1 per cent) out of more than 22,000 UASC (unaccompanied and separated children), who arrived in Italy and Greece in 2016 benefitted from relocation. They all departed from Greece.”