Refugees: Portugal takes in less than half its quota of 4,486

Back in the emotive days of 2015 – when the world was assailed with heartbreaking photos – Portugal vowed to play its part in welcoming refugees. But this week Público explains things haven’t gone quite as planned.

Bureaucracy at every turn has meant that only 1866 fleeing men, women and children have arrived “less than half the amount agreed on with the European Union”

Not all have stayed, either, says the paper. But that’s another story.

Breaking numbers down, Público says the initial EN relocation programme (running from 2015 to 2018) saw 1,552 people arrive in this country – 1,192 from camps in Greece, 360 from camps in Italy.

Of these, 982 were men and 570 women: 730 adults, 822 under the age of 18.

This programme placed arrivals – the majority from Syria (837), Iraque (338) and Eritreia (388) – in 99 boroughs.

Then came the UN-led ‘reinstallation programme’ – for refugees from countries outside the EU – bringing to Portugal 134 people from Egypt, and 62 from Turkey. And since then others have arrived from the Mediterranean migrant crisis (click here).

In January, the ministry of internal administration and the minister of the presidency and administrative modernisation talked about re-installing a further 1,010 refugees via the UN’s ACNUR programme which was asking member states in total to take in a further 50,000 people.

Up till now this does not appear to have moved forward, despite limited publicity in the press.

Says Público, the slow uptake is essentially down to bureaucracy at every turn – starting in the camps – and then there are difficulties with integration once people get here.

It’s unclear how many refugees have left the country, but “they are many”, says the paper.

Between December 2015 and October 2016, 720 of the 1511 taken in at the time had gone (click here), since then, figures have been vague.

The article stresses nonetheless the government’s determination to keep taking in refugees – particularly bearing in mind that back in 2016 prime minister António Costa said the country was ready to welcome “more than 5,000” on top of the original quota agreed with the EU (click here).

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