Friday 22 January 2021

Minister again says no to ‘ad hoc’ Greece child refugee plea

Photo: Depositphotos.comjugees

The government has again confirmed that it will not bring refugee children currently living in Greek camps to the Netherlands, despite calls for action by aid groups.

‘We do not support ad hoc solutions,’ junior justice minister Ankie Broekers-Knol told MPs on Wednesday.

Leiden, Amsterdam and The Hague are among the cities which have said they are prepared to make beds available and five EU countries (Germany, France, Luxemburg, Portugal and Finland) have already said they will take in 2,500 children who are travelling without parents.

‘The pictures from Greece have an impact on me too,’ Broekers-Knol said, as quoted by the Volkskrant. ‘It is clear they are migrants, but whether or not they are refugees has not been assessed, or if they really are orphans. Perhaps there are family members waiting behind to follow them.’

The Netherlands, the minister said, is more active than many in Europe in terms of accepting refugees who are being reallocated, and has taken in 1,750 so far, she said.

But the Netherlands is only prepared to do more if all 26 member states agree to take in their fair share, she said.

European ministers will meet in Brussels on Friday to discuss the refugee situation.

500 children

Last week, Dutch refugee groups called on local authorities to ‘show leadership and generosity’ by bringing 500 refugee children in Greece without their parents to the Netherlands because they are currently living in terrible conditions.

They say thousands of children are being denied water, food, education, medical care and a roof over their heads.

Greece asked EU countries to take in 2,500 children last October.

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