Fico: Quotas will end in a debacle

As long as I am prime minister, Slovakia will not implement quotas, Robert Fico said in response to the European Union interior ministers approval of the redistribution of 120,000 refugees based upon mandatory quotas.

PM Robert FicoPM Robert Fico (Source: SME)

Only four countries, Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Romania voted against the proposal. Poland, which had also disagreed has changed its opinion. Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák is now considering the legal steps against the plan, the Sme daily reported.

The system of mandatory quotas was proposed by the European Commission before summer. Originally, it proposed to redistribute 40,000 people but the September proposal was already proposing 120,000 refugees. This means that Slovakia should accept 1,502 people. The quotas have already been approved by the European Parliament.

“The system will not work and Slovakia will not be forced to adopt quotas,” Kaliňák said in a political talk show which was broadcast by the TA3 news channel.

Read also:Schengen must survive, Slovak politicians say Read more 

Fico responded that Slovakia together with the Czech Republic will fight back. He also plans to talk with his counterparts from other countries that also refuse the quotas, stressing that he will not accept the plan.

“I would rather go to infringement than accept this dictate,” Fico said, as quoted by Sme, adding that he is sure the plan will result in a debacle.

As part of the solution to the migration crisis, Slovakia is offering money, personnel and if necessary, military presence and aid to secure external borders. 

Fico expects the decision of the interior ministers to significantly influence the EU summit scheduled for September 23, he said at the session of the European affairs parliamentary committee. 

There'll be a heated debate on what just occurred,  he stressed, as quoted by the TASR newswire, adding that the dispute with the EU will begin with Slovakia formally announcing its stance on the resettlement quotas. Subsequently, a standard infringement process and other procedures would be initiated. We can't avoid this conflict because we stand upon our opinion that the quotas are senseless.   Infringement is a procedure, during which the Court of Justice examines a potential violation of EU rules.

Fico refused to comment regarding Poland's about face decision on the qutoas.

There are more factors at work here but it's a shame because V4 was sticking together,” Fico added, as quoted by TASR . I do not think that this will have any significant impact on the functioning of the Visegrad Group, however."

The European Commission has welcomed the outcome of the interior ministers’ meeting,  Andrej Králik of the EC Representation in Slovakia said,  stressing that they “welcome every effort of all member states to achieve this result”.

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