By Barbara Tasch
43 Syrian refugees, 20 adults and 23 children, arrived in Luxembourg from Turkey on August 16 and 17, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs has announced.
The 43 people constitute the fourth group of Syrian refugees to arrive in the Grand-Duchy under rules prescribed by the controversial deal struck between the European Union and Turkey in early 2016 following a massive influx of refugees to the bloc.
A fifth, and last, group of refugees coming to Luxembourg under that programme will arrive from Turkey in October.
The deal foresees that for every Syrian refugee readmitted to Turkey from a Greek island, another Syrian refugee would be relocated to an EU country directly from Greece.
A Luxembourg delegation had travelled to Istanbul to interview a number for refugees that had been pre-selected by the United Nations' refugee agency, the UNHCR.
Representatives of the immigration branch of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the Health Ministry and the Luxembourg Office for Integration (OLAI) met the families at the airport.
The OLAI and the Luxembourgish centre for integration and social cohesion which is affiliated with the Luxembourgish Red Cross are in charge of accompanying the refugees in their day-to-day administrative steps to help their integration into Luxembourgish society.
Luxembourg will have welcomed a total of 557 people coming from Greece and Italy by the end of this year under an international relocation programme, according to the Grand-Duchy's justice and home affairs council.
So far this year 1,369 people have applied for international protection in Luxembourg, according to Statec's latest figures.