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NEWS BRIEFS

Hamžík: Finland won't grant political asylum to Slovaks

After a two-week visit to Finland, Slovak Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration Pavol Hamžík returned to Slovakia and told journalists that Finland sees no reason to grant political asylum to Slovak Romanies or anyone else from Slovakia.

Two hundred and thirty asylum applications from Roma had been filed in Finland since an exodus of about 1,000 Slovak Roma began arriving there in June. Of these, 130 applications were turned down, while an additional 100 Romanies withdrew their applications.

Hamžík said that the Finnish and Slovak governments shared the opinion that the Romany issue is a "pan-European" problem that many countries struggle with. He added that the visa duty imposed on Slovaks this summer as a consequence of the Romany influx is due to be lifted in November.

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