Luxembourg PM gives reassurances over refugee crisis
(MV/JB) The former Monopol building in Gasperich is to be used as an emergency reception centre for asylum seekers coming to Luxembourg, it was revealed on Tuesday.
Speaking at the opening of the new parliamentary session, Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said that in addition to the sites already announced in the capital, the Monopol behind Delhaize on the route d'Esch and the police station in rue Glesener by the train station would also serve as centres.
In his speech, Mr Bettel outlined the need for solidarity with the refugees, not only to show a positive image of the country, “which is not immune to the call for help of others” but also for economic reasons.
On the latter, he recalled a recent OECD report showing the benefits that refugees could have on the labour market.
New laws to aid integration
Mr Bettel said that new laws would have to be passed in order to ease the integration process, a process which he said should be “accompanied and planned”.
He underlined that the country was ready to accommodate refugees, having opened a number of emergency reception centres.
He added that staff would be hired to receive new pupils, meanwhile an appeal for retired teachers had been launched.
“The response we have had to our appeal has been very good and I'm very happy,” he said.
Adult refugees will be offered Luxembourgish classes enabling them to a basic grasp of the national language.
Responding to critics
Mr Bettel responded to scepticism by saying that the government is taking people's fears seriously.
“It is clear that each asylum seeker must follow the law of the land without exception. It is for us to ensure that everything is in place to enable their successful integration,” he said.
He recalled that in the past Luxembourg successfully welcomed 3,000 Bosnian refugees during the last refugee crisis in 1999.
"Currently, we have 1,212 refugees. We are ready to welcome them and we have already committed to welcoming a further 400," he said.
A new law is being drawn up that will reduce the time threshold for asylum seekers to find work to six months after submitting an application for international protection instead of nine.
“Syrian refugees are generally very highly qualified and are therefore ready to integrate into the labour market,” the Prime Minister added.
Concerning the pocket money issued to asylum seekers of 25 euros per month, Mr Bettel said this would not be increased. Instead it would be accompanied by a personal action plan for each individual.
Do not miss the news - sign up to receive the wort.lu newsletter in English delivered to your inbox six days a week.