Lithuania has so far refused admission to almost all migrants who have illegally entered the EU country from neighboring Belarus and have applied for asylum.
Vilnius – According to the migration authority, only six out of 4,200 refugees were granted asylum. “In general, we now complete all exams. The very last asylum seeker can expect a decision at the end of December or the beginning of January, ”said Evelina Gudzinskaite, head of the authorities, on Friday on the Lithuanian radio.
A good half of the migrants whose applications were rejected appealed against the decision. According to Gudzinskaite, this week the first five migrants received a final and legally binding rejection of their asylum application – they are now being sent back to their countries of origin. Since the most complex applications have been put on hold, the number of positive decisions could increase slightly in the end, she said.
In response to Western sanctions, the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko announced in the spring that he would no longer stop migrants en route to the European Union. The number of irregular border crossings at the EU’s external borders with Belarus has risen sharply since then. Initially, Lithuania was particularly affected. Since the beginning of August, the Lithuanian border guards have been rejecting migrants who want to enter the country illegally via Belarus. The country has also started building a fence along the border. (dpa)