Finland to take in 175 vulnerable asylum-seekers from Mediterranean refugee camps

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HELSINKI, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Finland has decided to house up to 175 minors and other vulnerable asylum-seekers from Mediterranean refugee camps, the Finnish Ministry of Interior announced on Saturday.

The resettlement of the asylum-seekers from refugee camps in Greece, Cyprus, Malta and Italy will be funded by the EU's Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), according to a press release from the ministry.

"It is important that Finland, as the EU's external border state, is involved in finding solutions both to the acute situation and to the European asylum system," said Maria Ohisalo, Minister of the Interior, in the press release.

"We help those who are in real trouble. Smallest children and girls are in the greatest difficulties," Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said at Finnish national broadcaster Yle's morning program on Saturday.

The president, however, pointed out that "immigration can cause fear." He called on the Finns to join public debates on controversial topics, immigration in particular, and keep restraint.

With the migration pressure mounting, the reception capacity of the EU's Mediterranean external borders are overloaded, particularly in Greece.

Greece had called on other EU states to share responsibility for housing asylum-seekers stranding in its refugee camps.

Tapio Laakso, an adviser at the charity organization Save the Children, told Yle that the situation in the refugee camps on Greek islands was awful.

According to the Ministry of Interior, Finland received about 2,500 asylum-seekers in 2019. The number is lower than in the years before the outbreak of Europe's refugee crisis in 2015. Enditem

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