The city of Vienna wants to take in 100 children in need of protection from the refugee camps on the Greek islands, primarily from the Moria camp on Lesvos. The resolution, backed by the Social Democrats, the Greens and the liberal NEOS, highlights the critical living conditions in the camp which are plagued by a lack of infrastructure, overcrowding and low hygiene standards. These are particularly harmful for vulnerable children that have lost their parents and are now facing the additional threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. Against this background, the cross-party paper states that Vienna has enough capacity to take in and care for the children.
With this resolution, the city calls on the national Austrian government to participate in the current EU voluntary relocation exercise. Launched in March 2020, the European Commission scheme concerns the relocation of unaccompanied children and children with severe medical conditions and other vulnerabilities with their family from Greece to other Member States. Out of the roughly 5,000 children in need of relocation, several hundred have so far been relocated to Luxembourg, Germany, Ireland, Portugal, Finland, Belgium and France.
Several Eurocities members have already declared their readiness to welcome children from overcrowded refugee camps on the Greek islands in a letter sent to the EU institutions by our Solidarity Cities Initiative.