Cruz Roja (Red Cross) volunteers at the Playa de Palma hostel for refugees. | Miquel A. Cañellas

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The first refugees from Greece are to be taken in at the Playa de Palma hostel this coming Monday. Eight men - four from Syria, three from Iraq and one from the Central African Republic - are to be admitted under the European programme for relocation of refugees.

President Armengol has confirmed the refugees' arrival, describing them as "victims of the Syrian conflict", and adding that eighty more refugees will be coming to Majorca. The president yesterday criticised the "slowness" of the European Union in taking care of refugees, observing that instead of "a bridge between cultures" being built there is a "mass grave" of people losing their lives on account of a lack of sensitivity by governmental institutions.

Fina Santiago, the minister for social services and cooperation, noted that the Balearics had been one of the first communities to offer shelter to refugees from Syria. That they will now be coming is, she suggested, because the regional government has done what it had to do. This was to adapt the hostel to meet requirements of up to 56 places for refugees.

The eight men will add to the three members of an Albanian family - a couple and a five-year-old - who were the first refugees to come to Majorca. "This shows we are a land of welcome," said the minister, adding that there are six others currently in the hostel who since April have sought asylum in Spain. All adults, they are from Venezuela, Ethiopia, Senegal and the Ukraine.