Research deems Latvia 'slacker' for response to refugee crisis

Research by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) says that, among EU member states, Latvia is a slacker in terms of its humanitarian response to the refugee crisis. 

Latvia is however a leader in maintaining a strong and united sanctions policy against Russia and remains committed to Eastern Partnership countries, reported Latvian Radio Tuesday.

The European Foreign Policy Scorecard 2016 ranks EU countries in terms of their response to a number of international issues, with the best-performing called 'leaders' and the worst-performing called 'slackers'. 

All of the Baltic countries - Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania - were deemed leaders for their response to upholding Russian sanctions and committing to Eastern Partnership countries.

A total of 12 members states, including Latvia and Lithuania, are reprimanded as 'slackers' for their response to the refugee crisis.

The results of this research were analyzed Tuesday in a public discussion (full video) featuring a panel of foreign policy experts.

Ilvija Bruģe, a researcher at the Latvian Institute of International Affairs said that Latvia hasn't developed a serious and sustainable policy on the refugee matter and in fact has done as little as it could, not offering real material support or participated in giving aid to Greece and Italy.

While Andrejs Pildegovičs, State Secretary of the Foreign Ministry, said that Latvia "doesn't look bad" compared to other EU countries altogether as it was named a leader in several respects. He said that Latvia did what it could as concerns migration and the Syrian crisis. 

Estonia and Lithuania were criticized for inactivity in response to China's human rights situation, while Lithuania was criticized for unenthusiastic overseas troop deployment and set apart for its support for Ukraine. 

The ECFR is a private not-for-profit think tank.

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