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Fico ponders referendum on migrant quotas

THE VISEGRAD Group countries (V4) could block the mandatory quotas for refugees during the European Council session. 

Prime Minister Robert Fico(Source: TASR)

If this happens and the European Commission nonetheless pushes the quotas through, Slovak government will consider the possibility to hold referendum, Prime Minister Robert Fico said, the TASR newswire reported.

He went on to say that he will discuss with his V4 partners to agree on further steps.

“The aim is to achieve a joint V4 declaration, based on which we would reject mandatory quotas,” Fico said, as quoted by TASR, adding that this document may block the EC text on quotas.

Even if they succeed with the plan, the EC may still continue in preparing the draft legislation which will introduce the quotas. There is also a question whether countries opposing quotas will be able to form so-called blocking minority that would prevent the quotas from becoming binding for all EU countries.

If the EC pushes through the quotas despite objections, Fico will consider the possibility of a referendum.

“It may be a way of avoiding the consequences of an EC decision with which the Slovak government simply can’t agree,” Fico said, as quoted by TASR.

Fico insists that quotas are not the solution to migratory pressures.

“On the contrary, they will cause the whole problem to return to us like a boomerang with even more intensity,” he said, adding that he is in favour of member countries deciding for themselves on a voluntary basis whether and how to participate in the process of migrant resettlement and relocation.

He also said that Slovakia is committed to the principle of solidarity, but not by automatically accepting refugees. Slovakia is prepared to provide support to the European countries affected most by migration. Moreover, Fico pointed out that Slovakia is helping to improve conditions in several developing countries and crisis areas.

Measures to prevent an unchecked mass influx of migrants into Europe from Africa and Asia should be the top priority in addressing the current situation, Fico said.

“A lasting and effective solution to the question of illegal immigration should be based primarily on activities in third countries,” Fico said, as quoted by TASR. “We must focus on the root causes in countries of transit and origin.”

He added that safe zones could be established in countries from which people emigrate the most.

Meanwhile, the MPs discussed the draft of the extensive statement via which the parliament should express “deep concern and regret over the tragic situation of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea area who come to the European Union”. They should also condemn the abuse of the migration topic to stir up tensions, racism, and xenophobia, as well as to emphasise the need of solidarity with EU member states when solving the current situation, as reported by the SITA newswire.

The MPs should also declare the “readiness of Slovakia to help solving this humanitarian crisis”, insisting on the voluntary principle, SITA wrote.

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Topic: European Union


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