Slovakia to probably keep its position on refugees

THE NEW forces in Slovak parliament seem unlikely to change Slovakia’s critical attitude to refugees.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: AP/SITA)

Richard Sulík, chair of Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) which gained the second highest support in the March 5 general election and MEP, criticised German Chancellor Angela Merkel and repeated his anti-refugee statements in the talk show broadcast by German television ARD on March 6.

Sulík has a chance to form the new government if talks led by the election winner, Robert Fico, fail.

In the beginning of his speech, Sulík said that “the upper limit of accepting refugees in Slovakia is zero”, which he later added is what Slovaks really want, as reported by the Denník N daily.

He went on to say that police officers “do not have to kill refugees immediately, but they should use violence to protect borders”. A similar opinion was voiced by head of the far-right party Alternative for Germany Frauke Petry who claimed that police officers should shoot migrants who try to cross borders illegally.

When talking about solutions to the crisis, Sulík mentioned closing the borders. In this respect he mentioned Spain which, unlike Greeks, can protect its southern, coastal borders.

“If we close the border, people will stop coming and no big number of people will drown there,” Sulík said, as quoted by Denník N. “Europe should protect itself.”

Sulík was also critical of Merkel, saying that on one hand she wants to close the borders, but on the other she wants to pay Turkey for closing its borders. Such an approach is cowardly and duplicitous, he added.

He was also critical of the EU funds, saying they only create space for corruption in Slovakia. The country should stop drawing them, according to Sulík.

Fico praises V4 role in the summit

Meanwhile, the leaders of the European Union’s member states met in Brussels on March 7 to discuss solutions to the migration crisis. The countries basically accepted the proposal to speed up the liberalisation of the visa regime for Turkey’s citizens. They also agreed on new ways to stop illegal migration, like the right for the EU to return illegal Syrian migrants back to Turkey. In return the EU will accept war refugees from Syria in a legal way, said President of the European Council Donald Tusk, as reported by the TASR newswire.

The final document, however, does not contain any mention about the so-called Balkan migration route being closed, TASR wrote.

The EU will continue in talks with Turkey about details of the agreement. It is expected the final deal will be made at the March 17-18 summit.

Slovak Prime Minister Fico said after the negotiations that they received a new proposal of the agreement with Turkey, based on which Greece would withdraw the migrants from all of its islands to the mainland in the near future. Since they saw it for the first time, they could not agree with it immediately and thus it will be discussed at the next summit.

He also praised the role of the Visegrad Group (V4) at the summit. The countries succeeded with its proposal that the number of refugees the EU will take instead of returned migrants will not be higher than 160,000, the number approved within the relocation quota scheme. This means it will not impact Slovakia which disagreed with the mechanism and submitted a lawsuit, Fico added.

“Without its coordinated approach, the decisions that are at odds with our interests would be adopted,” Fico said, as quoted by TASR.

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