September 8, 2015 / 9:46 AM / 4 years ago

Europe needs 'guaranteed relocation system' for Syrian refugees

GENEVA (Reuters) - Europe must offer guaranteed relocation for Syrian refugees, as record numbers flee to Macedonia and Greece due to misery in their homeland and surrounding countries, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

A record 7,000 Syrian refugees arrived in the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia on Monday, while some 30,000 are on Greek islands, including 20,000 on Lesbos, it said.

“Discussions in Europe this week are taking on even greater urgency because it obviously cannot be a German solution to a European problem,” UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming told a news briefing in Geneva.

She welcomed separate offers announced by Britain and France on Monday to take in Syrian refugees, but said reception centers must be set up in countries including Hungary and Greece.

“Those can only work if there is a guaranteed relocation system whereby European countries saying yes will take X number.

We believe it should be 200,000 — that’s the number we believe need relocation in Europe countries,” Fleming said.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Catherine Evans

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