Interior Minister: Latvia behind schedule on admitting asylum seekers

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Latvia is currently behind the schedule with relocation of asylum seekers from other EU member states and most probably would fail to receive the required number of asylum seekers - 531 - in two years, Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis told LNT television Wednesday, reported LETA.

So far 47 asylum seekers have arrived in Latvia.

"It is quite possible that we might fail to meet the requirement,” Kozlovskis said, adding that Latvia would deliver on its obligations. Although it can bring over the required number of refugees, their social inclusion is more important, he said.

The next group of asylum seekers may arrive in Latvia soon, most probably, from Greece or Italy, the interior minister said. However, he could not say exactly how many people would be in this group. Resettlement of asylum seekers from Turkey has been delayed by a Muslim festival.

The second group of asylum seekers brought to Latvia is likely to get the refugee status soon but there are problems with finding housing for them as they are supposed to leave the asylum seeker center at Mucenieki upon receiving the refugee status.

Latvia last year undertook to accept 531 asylum seekers in two years under the EU relocation scheme. Most of them are to be relocated from the EU member states – Greece and Italy, but 50 people are to be resettled from third countries.

Currently resettlement is being arranged for asylum seekers staying in Turkey.

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