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IOM Urges EU States to Speed Up Refugee Relocation Process

© AFP 2021 / TT NEWS AGENCY / STIG-AKE JONSSONA group of migrants off an incoming train walk down a platform as they are accompanied by the police at the Swedish end of the bridge between Sweden and Denmark near Malmoe on November 12, 2015
A group of migrants off an incoming train walk down a platform as they are accompanied by the police at the Swedish end of the bridge between Sweden and Denmark near Malmoe on November 12, 2015 - Sputnik International
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European states should speed up implementation of the refugee relocation program, Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) William Lacy Swing told Sputnik.

Policemen look on as refugees from Syria demonstrate against violence near the Cologne main train station in Cologne, western Germany on January 16, 2016 - Sputnik International
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GENEVA (Sputnik), Daria Chernyshova – Member states of the European Union should speed up the implementation of the refugee relocation program, particularly in respect to moving migrants from Greece and Italy, Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) William Lacy Swing told Sputnik.

"We just signed an agreement to relocate 63,000 from Greece to other [EU] countries, but it hasn't started yet. From Greece and Italy primarily. But it is slow, they have done [relocated] something less than 300 [refugees] so far, this needs to be speeded up," Swing said. 

Providing migrants with a free access to public services is in host countries’ interests as eventually it results in a healthy society in which migrants start paying taxes once employed, Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) William Lacy Swing told Sputnik.

“I think it is actually in the [host] country's interest to give them access to public services free of charge, because you want to have healthy communities and therefore you want to have healthy migrants who are part of the community,” Swing said.

According to the IOM head, the same applies to schools, as “you want the migrant children to be educated like your own children so that you have an educated society.”

Migrants are “great agents of development,” Swing added. 

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The European Union needs to work out a long-term plan for migration which should be focused not only on security issues, but also on integration and creating employment for the refugees:

“I think what is going to be required is a comprehensive multifaceted longer-term plan that, in addition to security, talks about integration, talks about livelihood, talks about access to public services, getting them into jobs,” Swing said.

Europe has been beset by a massive refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants fleeing their home countries to escape violence and poverty. Many of them take the West Balkan route, which crosses Greece, using the county as an entry-point to the bloc. Multiple people enter the bloc via the Italian coast.

In September, the European Commission introduced a quota scheme, providing for the resettlement of 160,000 refugees located in Greece, Italy and Hungary, throughout other European member states over the next two years.

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