Madrid region expecting to take in 2,400 Syrian refugees

Lack of agreement between EU ministers delaying definitive figure, explains spokesperson

Regional premier Cristina Cifuentes (l) visits the newly inaugurated refugee support office in Madrid.
Regional premier Cristina Cifuentes (l) visits the newly inaugurated refugee support office in Madrid.EFE

The Madrid regional government is expecting to take in around 2,400 Syrian refugees out of a possible total of 17,500 that Spain is due to accept. The government spokesman in the region, Ángel Garrido, stated in an interview with Onda Madrid radio station on Wednesday that there was still “uncertainty” over the definitive figure, given that no agreement had yet been reached between European Union interior ministers, who are due to meet again to discuss the issue next Tuesday.

Garrido also pointed out that earlier this week Madrid regional premier Cristina Cifuentes had inaugurated an office dedicated to helping refugees.

At the opening of the Refugee Support Office, Cifuentes, of the conservative Popular Party, also stated that the central government was yet to tell the regions how many refugees they would be allocated. “Together we have put all of the available resources in motion,” Cifuentes said on Tuesday. “They are now ready to help the refugees who come here.”

The budget for the project will not be covered by the region, but rather the central government, according to the social policies chief in Madrid, Carlos Izquierdo. Part of the funds will be sent to the regions, and the rest to NGOs. Izquierdo reiterated that Madrid was willing to receive the allocation of refugees that the central government sees fit.

Faced with an ongoing influx into Western Europe of people fleeing conflict zones such as Syria, Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau was the first to voice her intention to put in place measures to help them. Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena was quick to lend her support to the plan, and a number of other municipalities and regional governments across Spain soon followed. But despite their statements of intent to help, these local authorities will have to wait until the central government assigns them certain numbers of refugees as well as funding to provide assistance.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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