The start of the EU Relocation Scheme, a symbolic step forward in tackling the ‪refugee crisis‬ (video)

As part of our European Agenda on Migration, the first relocation of refugees took place today with 19 Eritrean refugees flying from Italy to Sweden.

”Sweden was one of the first Member States to come forward and pledge places – a crucial show of solidarity that helps us to roll out the relocation scheme. We are now counting on all Member States to work closely with the Italian and Greek authorities, to relocate several hundred people per month.”, stated the European Commission.

Commissioner’s, D. Avramopoulos’s remarks at the Press Conference in Rome to mark the first flight under the EU Relocation Scheme:

”In a spirit of solidarity and responsibility, today we add one more of efficiency. So what we are living today here in Rome is a tangible example, a paradigm of what we can do if we work together in this spirit of solidarity. It’s not the number that counts, it’s not the fact that only 19 people were on board, but it is the act that counts.  It is actually today that the program starts to be implemented and I make an appeal from here, in the name of Europe, in name of our President Jean-Claude Juncker and all of us: let’s move ahead, let’s address this issue, let’s give hope to these people. But also: let’s put rules, let’s fight smuggling, let’s start the project of returning all those who are irregularly in Europe, and provide with our support and help for those who are in need of our protection. This first relocation exercise is a small step but a significant one – it is symbolic of a Europe that takes responsibility, that shows solidarity and is capable of meeting the challenges before it. Relocations now need to become systematic, routine business in Italy and in Greece.”