The Council of Majorca has taken the first steps in a process to twin Majorca with the Greek island of Lesbos, near to the Turkish coast. This is the principal point of European entry for fugitives from the civil war in Syria, with refugees moving from Lesbos to various parts of Europe and their sheer number - some 200,000 - having caused the headache for the European Union that it has. At the same time as it is embarking on the twinning process, the Council is also studying the sending of economic aid to Lesbos via the Catalan NGO, Open Arms.

At present, there are no official discussions with local authorities in Lesbos as this initiative is in its consideration phase. Lesbos is a relatively large island at over 1,600 square kilometres (Majorca is more than double this) but with a small population of some 87,000. The Council wants to act tactfully, conscious of the fact that Lesbos is in a difficult situation in having to try and accommodate those fleeing the fighting in Syria. It wants to know how the authorities there would respond to a movement towards twinning: it is currently governed by the Greek Communist Party.

Aid could be channelled via the Majorca Solidarity Fund. President Miquel Ensenyat is aware that the best way of arriving at a twinning relationship will be to convince the Lesbos authorities of the best intentions of the Majorcans. The Council will tread warily, knowing that some tension might be aroused from support of Lesbos politicians.


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