Portugal to receive around €70 million to take in up to 5,000 refugees

After a huge amount of to-ing and fro-ing over numbers, it looks like Portugal will be receiving “around €70 million” in European funds to take in “4,500 to 5000” refugees over the next five years.

The decision, taken at an extraordinary meeting of EU heads of government yesterday, will see some of the money and some of the refugees arriving as early as October.

But as yet, there is no hard and fast schedule, neither over the origin of the people to be taken, nor the timing of all the relevant funding.

According to Sábado, Portugal should be receiving €2.3 million from the “Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund” anytime before December, as well as €2.7 million from the “Internal Security Fund”.

TV24 quoted the minister for internal administration saying Portugal would be taking in more people than originally decided, a total of “around 4,500 to 5000”.

Talking after the meeting that backed mandatory quotas to distribute 120,000 refugees throughout Europe, prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho said Portugal’s quota would be “taken” only after they had been “duly identified” in countries such as Greece and Italy.

A bit like UK, the country will receive people “once they have been processed” – a procedure that has already been criticised in international media as being chaotic and wildly unfit for purpose.

An article in the Washington Post yesterday claimed: “There are well-dressed Iranians speaking Farsi who insist they are members of the persecuted Yazidis of Iraq. There are Indians who don’t speak Arabic but say they are from Damascus. There are Pakistanis, Albanians, Egyptians, Kosovars, Somalis and Tunisians from countries with plenty of poverty but no war”.

“Swimming in the river of humanity” two WP journalists found “shady characters”, including admitted criminals, Islamic State sympathizers and “a couple of guys from Fallujah, one with a fresh bullet wound”.

Thus screeners are faced with a veritable minefield, and it is no wonder this issue continues to split Europe.

In Portugal, however, government leaders are for the time being at least showing unity.

Foreign affairs minister Rui Machete acknowledged that Portugal’s effort was “large”, but said it is justified.

“The situation of refugees justifies some sacrifices,” he told journalists after the heated Brussels summit that saw an effective mutiny by countries in Eastern European.

As the BBC explained in a report posted today, the European Commission has warned that if “it is not properly addressed”, this crisis could see “a surge of right-wing extremism across Europe”.

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