Kaliňák: Refugees’ quota is hot issue, Slovakia not alone

A POTENTIAL agreement on a permanent mechanism to re-distribute refugees within the European Union (EU) would mean a total break down of Europe, Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák said for the discussion show of the news-only TA3 private TV channel on November 8.

Slovak Interior Minister Robert KalinákSlovak Interior Minister Robert Kalinák (Source: AP/SITA)

“That would be the end,” he said, adding that due to the millions of refugees the EU plans to accept, it would mean that Slovakia would need to accept almost 50,000 asylum-seekers over the next five years. Kaliňák explained that by defying the permanent mechanism, Slovakia is fighting against being forced to accept ever more refugees. At one moment, European countries will be filled, and migrants will have nowhere else to go, the minister added, as quoted by the SITA newswire. Thus, the asylum policy must be very strict.

The interior minister also criticised the registration hotspots which do not function well, according to him. The number of countries opposing the permanent mechanism has been rising, he argues, and more and more EU members are joining the protest. He cited, apart form the Visegrad-Four Group countries (Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia), also Finland, Belgium and Estonia. “We are not the “black sheep of the flock”,” he noted, according to the TASR newswire. If the issue came to the official agenda of the EU, it would cause a huge dispute.

“The only thing that can save Europe is closing the borders,” Kaliňák opined, as quoted by SITA. “If we want to help we can do so outside our borders; for example, by improving the conditions in Turkey which is the key player against illegal migration.”

Most-Híd MP Gábor Gál agrees with the notion that the permanent mechanism is not a viable solution; but adds that Slovakia should come forth with an active policy of voluntarily accepting refugees – and not a hundred as proposed by the Interior Ministry. Moreover, nothing has been done to secure the safety of the country and speed up the asylum proceeding. Instead the government tries to spread fear and abuse the issue to avert attention from hot problems of domestic policy, Gál opined, as quoted by TASR.  

Slovakia so far has not accepted a single asylum seeker on a voluntary basis, Kaliňák conceded, adding that the procedure in question is rather challenging, but Slovakia intends to shelter 100 Syrian Christians on a voluntary basis. Most-Híd vice-chair Lucia Žitňanská, Kaliňák’s opposite number on the show, claimed that Slovakia has not done its utmost on a voluntary level. 

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