Monday, 11 December 2017

V4 interior ministers: Permanent quotas may deepen migrant crisis

ČTK |
6 October 2017

Budapest/Bratislava, Oct 5 (CTK) - The Hungarian, Polish, Slovak and Czech interior ministers warned on Thursday that the introduction of a permanent mechanism similar to the mandatory quotas for redistribution of immigrants across Europe may deepen the migrant crisis, the Slovak Interior Ministry said.

Deputy Interior Minister Jiri Novacek represented the Czech Republic at the Budapest meeting of interior ministers of the four Visegrad Group (V4) countries.

In a joint declaration, the V4 interior ministries rejected the pressure that the European Commission is exerting on countries that did not accept the required numbers of asylum seekers. Only thorough protection of the external border, meeting the Schengen rules, further agreements with Central African states, and support for the Libyan plan of action can help the EU avoid the situation with which it was confronted in 2015.

One month ago, the European Court of Justice dismissed the lawsuits filed by Hungary and Slovakia against the EU's quotas for accepting migrants. On the same day, the European Commission threatened to take legal action against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland unless these three countries change its negative stance on the quotas for the redistribution of asylum seekers in the next several weeks.

Within the two-year redistribution programme that ended on September 26, 160,000 refugees from Greece and Italy should have been distributed across the EU. However, only five EU countries met the set quotas and 30,000 of the refugees moved to other European states.

Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kalinak said on Thursday the countries that had voted against the mandatory quotas in a EU vote two years ago represented merely 20,000 migrants.

In 2015, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia voted against the quotas.

Kalinak said the redistribution programme was a failure because only 16 percent of the plan was met. "Apart from five countries, no other state has done its homework. This is why I do not understand the European Commission's criticism of some V4 countries very much. Any punishments of the V4 countries are thus wrong," he said.

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