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Estonian Prime Minister: Around 100 refugees a year is not mass immigration


Around 100 refugees a year Estonia is capable of taking in are certainly not a reason to speak about mass immigration and sowing xenophobia is to be condemned, Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas said on Tuesday.

"The Estonian government takes the view that we too have to be open and help solve the problem, but this within our capabilities and on the basis of an agreement between countries," Rõivas underlined.

In his words, the decision taken at the European Council late on Friday to distribute 60,000 refugees among European countries on a voluntary basis is in agreement with the mandate given to the government. "Now it has to be agreed how much each country is prepared to voluntarily contribute. Estonia too has reason to make a contribution in accordance with its size," the head of the government said.

He declined to name specific figures but said Estonia is able to accept about 100 refugees a year within a two-year period.

At the same time steps have to be taken for the country to have a sufficient capability for admitting refugees, Rõivas said: "So that all the people would know what they have to do, how the refugees arriving in Estonia will be taught the language, how we'll ensure employment, and so on."

He said the government wants to get answers to all specific questions within a month and agreed on Tuesday to form a respective work group.

In Rõivas' words, it is irresponsible to speak about mass immigration. He pointed out that currently approximately 4,000 people apply for a residence permit annually and the number of refugees Estonia might accept is a very small percentage of that number.

"The situation here won't come to even one refugee per each and every self-government unit, not even in a perspective of two years. When municipalities say they do not want to accept refugees, such rejecting statements that cause anger in society are groundless," he said.

Baltic News Service

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