ATHENS – Twelve unaccompanied refugee children from Syria and Afghanistan departed from Athens International Airport on Wednesday morning, to travel to Luxembourg on an Aegean Airlines flight.
Alternate Migration Minister Giorgos Koumoutsakos, the Ambassador of Luxembourg to Greece Paul Steinmetz and the special secretary for unaccompanied children Irini Agapidaki were at the airport to say goodbye.
The Ambassador of Luxembourg told the children that they will stay in a small village in the north of the country, a village with many tourists in a very quiet and beautiful part of the country. “The good thing about Luxembourg is that it is a small country and it’s quite easy,” Steinmetz said, and told them that “it is too early to find a job but a job will not be a problem for them but “first you must go to school and learn French or German,” he told them, adding that half of the population are foreign nationals so they will not feel like a minority.
In statements to the press, Koumoutsakos underlined that the childrens’ relocation to Luxembourg “is the beginning of an effort, an initiative, a European plan that concerns a total of 1,600 unaccompanied minors who will move from Greece to other EU countries. “It was a start, an act of real solidarity from the friendly country of Luxembourg, which accepted 12 children at a time when the country’s population is 60,000, so it is an example for other bigger, stronger and more populated countries’.”
The Ambassador of Luxembourg said that “it was only the beginning, a positive start and a part of the solution. There are 5,000 unaccompanied children in Greece. We felt we could not wait forthe EU to decide on its programme so in March we made the decision and the Foreign Minister of Luxembourg proposed that every country to accept approximately 10 children per 500,000 residents and this would solve the problem. Luxembourg provided a good example and took 12 children.”