Authorities in Finland will take ten asylum seekers rescued from the Ocean Viking ship, which recently reached France.
According to a recent statement by the Ministry of the Interior of Finland, priority will be given to applicants who are the most vulnerable, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
The Ministry also revealed that France had received a total of 238 people rescued on the Ocean Viking ship.
“The Ocean Viking is one of the three ships that carried those rescued at sea which were originally on their way to Italy. It is the first time that a ship carrying people rescued from the Mediterranean has landed in French territory,” the statement reads.
As for the voluntary transfers of asylum seekers, they are part of the Member States’ joint responsibility regarding the EU asylum system reform. In this regard, Finland already has experience in accepting asylum seekers who are transfered within the EU. In this occasion, it is France the one that has asked Finland to take in some of the asylum seekers.
The Ministry of the Interior and the Finnish Immigration Service will jointly decide later on time the when these transfers will be made. At the same time, the Finnish Immigration and Protection Police will do background checks on these people before transferring them to the country, while the asylum process is set to start after they reach Finland.
Last week, France allowed the NGO ship Ocean Viking with 234 migrants to land in its territory after Italy had refused to let this ship approach its ports. It has been reported that out of this figure, 44 immigrants were refused asylum by the French authorities, upon arrival.
Commenting on this situation, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said that 16 immigrants, who are mainly Syrian, Swedish and Eritrean, have already been allowed to apply for asylum. Another part of the applications has remained in processing.
Minister Darmanin also emphasized that 44 other minors were on the Ocean Viking rescue ship.
In addition to France, Germany has also expressed its willingness to receive a third of the asylum seekers whose application has also been accepted.
On the other hand, Italy has also received a lot of harsh criticism from France since the latter accused Italy of violating international laws that state that rescue ships must be anchored in the nearest port.
During the summer, from a solidarity agreement between these two European countries, which is now suspended, France would have accepted 3500 immigrants currently in Italy.
SOURCE: Schengen Visa Info