“It is lamentable”, says the country’s refugee platform, but the truth is that Portugal really doesn’t know when it will start receiving the 4500 refugees envisaged for intake over the next two years.
More than a month after quotas have been defined, no-one seems any the wiser, Rui Marques of the refugee support platform (PAR) has told Rádio Renascença.
“Refugees should already have arrived”, he told the station. “It really is lamentable that member states and European institutions cannot resolve the elementary, which is to comply with the decision and take in 160,000 refugees throughout various countries”.
Marques added that there appears to be “a lack of political will”, but stressed he hoped Portugal’s first arrivals would be here before the end of the month.
Marques has been backed up by the Portuguese council for refugees, whose president Teresa Tito Morais called the delay “inadmissible and shocking”.
In the meantime, the national press has been peppered with articles explaining how refugees, when they finally make it here, will be entitled to free medicine, a family GP and free university education.