Akureyri to help with new refugees

Akureyri is proud of its record.

Akureyri is proud of its record. Photo: Davíð Rúnar

The town of Akureyri in North Iceland has volunteered to take a share of the fifty refugees that Iceland has pledged to receive over 2015 and 2016.

“A duty to help”

A press release from Akureyri Town Council reads: “Akureyri is more than willing to pitch in and help refugees find new opportunities and a better quality of life. Akureyri Town Council has already been in contact with the Ministry of Welfare to begin talks on bringing refugees to Akureyri as soon as possible.”

Icelandic Minister for Social Affairs and Housing, Eygló Harðardótt­ir, had previously indicated that the problem of refugees in Greece and Italy is everybody’s concern and that those countries that can pitch in, such as Iceland, have a duty to do so.

Akureyri subscribes fully to this view.

The exact number of refugees to be welcomed in Akureyri has not been discussed, but according to Mayor of Akureyri, Eiríkur Björn Björgvinsson, it could be “possibly as many as last time”. In 2003, Akureyri took in 24 refugees from the former Yugoslavia.

Refugee success story

Akureyri is proud of that experience. “All support services were outstanding and the residents of Akureyri gave the new arrivals a fine welcome,” the press release further reads. “All the families that came at that time are still in Akureyri.”

A new study by the University of Akureyri reportedly shows that “refugees in Akureyri are very happy and feel that all necessary services are available. Support for refugees is good, including an information and advice bureau for foreigners run by Akureyri Town Council.”

Iceland has recently informed its embassy in Brussels of its wish to be a part of European joint efforts to take in refugees and to welcome fifty refugees over 2015 and 2016.

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