Four EU Members Suggest Refugee Camp in Ukraine | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 16.09.2004
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Four EU Members Suggest Refugee Camp in Ukraine

Ministers from four EU member states - Austria, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - have presented a joint idea of establishing a refugee camp to provide shelter for a growing number of Chechen refugees.

Meeting in Vienna on Wednesday at the invitation of Austrian Interior minister, Ernst Strasser, for the first Austro-Baltic Security Summit, ministers of the four countries -- Austria, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania -- signed up to the idea. "Refugees from Chechnya represent a problem for all our four countries," the Austrian minister said at a press conference following the meeting. He pointed to Iraq and its neighbouring countries as the good example of such camps, because refugees do "not come to Europe." Lithuanian's Interior minister, Virgilijus Bulovas, pointed to Ukraine as the most obvious country to place a reception camp for the Chechen refugees. This year Austria had - by the end of August - already received 4,221 applications from Russian asylum seekers, making them the largest single group of asylum seekers in the country, according to statistics from the Austrian ministry of the interior. It is believed that many of them are coming from the Russian breakaway republic Chechnya. Similar proposals to build transit camps for potential immigrants to Europe have been put forward by the British and recently revived by German interior minister Otto Schily. (

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