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Slovakia opposes EU resettlement

PM Fico cites threat of terrorism from new migrants.

Robert Fico fears immigrants might bring terrorism. (Source: SME)

PRIME Minister Robert Fico labelled the European Commission’s plan for distributing immigrants from the Mediterranean across all EU member states as “very risky business”. 

The refugees coming to Europe for work or better life in general might bring “a wave of terrorism” with them, Fico told a May 27 press conference in reaction to the European Agenda on Migration, the first proposals of which were adopted on the same day in Brussels. 

The agenda counts on Slovakia to take in 1.96 percent of the migrants from the Mediterranean, namely 471 individuals from Italy and 314 from Greece. Many of them originally come from Syria and Eritrea.

On May 27, the EC for the first time applied its emergency response mechanism to assist Italy and Greece and relocate 40,000 people, mainly Syrian and Eritrean nationals, who arrived after April 15, over the next two years. The member states participating in the scheme will be entitled to financial support, with each state receiving €6,000 per resettled migrant.

For Slovakia, this amounts to €4.71 million, the TASR newswire reported. 

Additionally, the EC adopted a recommendation asking member states to resettle 20,000 people from outside the EU in clear need of international protection.

Fico’s fears

“Let us realise that Libya is in absolute dissolution, it does not exist as a state,” Fico told the press conference, arguing that the country is suffering from war and it is possible that by taking in migrants from there, Europe will let in also “a wave of people who are not coming for work or better life, but rather in order to spread terrorism”. 

Fico also criticised the EU countries who participated in the bombing of Libya and who now say all of Europe should react and take in refugees. Fico is planning to discuss the terrorism threat at the European Council, where he wants to oppose the plan, but stressed that Slovakia will not shirk its responsibility for European solidarity. 

Little public response 

Meanwhile, in response to the introduction of the quota for Slovakia, a gathering was organised in Bratislava with the banner “Refugees welcome”, by the Bratislava Without Nazis association. Dozens attended the gathering, including a number of far-right representatives, according to TASR. 

Political analyst Juraj Marušiak, who attended the gathering to support solidarity with immigrants, said that there is also a moral dimension to the issue of immigration and that it cannot be viewed solely from an economic and social perspective. 

“We need to remember how many Slovaks had to flee in the past because they were facing political persecution in former Czechoslovakia, and as forced migrants they were active supporters of the liberation of Czech and Slovak society,” he said, as quoted by TASR, adding that these too are reasons why Slovakia should not perceive the migration quotas hysterically.

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