V4 summit on immigration to take place in Prague on Friday

Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav LajčákForeign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák(Source: Sme )

The summit, which has been convened by Czech Premier Bohuslav Sobotka (as his country currently presides over the grouping), is scheduled to take place 15:00 at the Czech Cabinet Office.

The Slovak government passed a comprehensive stance earlier on September 2, concluding that the country is under tremendous pressure from its foreign counterparts. Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Miroslav Lajčák said (as quoted by the TASR newswire) that the Visegrad Group – as a regional grouping – has a much more significant weight inside the EU than the individual voices of the four countries on their own.

Slovakia is asking for an open and comprehensive discussion on migration as well as a more robust common foreign and security policy aimed at the prevention of armed conflict in migrants' countries of origin. As part of the medium-term measures, Slovakia advocates the establishment of so-called safe zones for refugees both in their countries of origin and during their transit – where they can receive adequate humanitarian assistance. It calls for the immediate strengthening of the protection of EU’s land and marine borders and for joint action against human traffickers.

The Slovak government rejects compulsory quotas for refugee redistribution, arguing that this is another factor which makes the EU a more attractive destination for the ever-increasing diaspora. “As part of the immediate actions, we are prepared to voluntarily accept refugees in accordance with the asylum procedure and to take care of those whose lives are demonstrably and believably in danger in their home countries,” the government informed.

Slovakia is clearly against obligatory quotas for allocating migrants and absolutely supports a joint migration policy of the European Union, Lajčák said for the SITA newswire on September 2, after the government session. He added that his country is ready to offer financial, material and personnel aid to other countries but the precise amount we are able to give is not yet clear.

The proposal on Slovakia’s further actions concerning the migration crisis has been approved by the government, and it strives to present Slovakia's complex position. Lajčák added that the debate on migration has shrunk to conflict on quotas which, however represent only a symbolic token. „We have the Schengen [area], although this does not work, and we have some kind of anarchy,” Lajčák said. “One of the fundamental pillars of the EU has been shaken in its foundations,” he summarised. The minister suggested that one possibility of how to fight against illegal migration could be the more systematic co-operation of the intelligence services.

The issue will also be discussed by Slovak, Czech and Austrian prime ministers (Robert Fico, Bohuslav Sobotka and Werner Faymann, respectively) on September 7 in Bratislava. The foreign ministers of the EU-member states will meet informally on September 4-5 in Luxembourg. On September 11, the V4 foreign affairs ministers will meet in Prague. EU interior ministers will meet on September 14 and on October 8, according to TASR.

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Theme: Migration crisis


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