Slovakia is standing in solidarity with the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, countries which were taken to the European Court of Justice, Europe’s top tribunal, by the European Commission on Thursday, Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák said during an EU Home Affairs Council session.
Kaliňák indicated that this did not come as a surprise as the EC had brought up this possibility several months ago. He expressed the opinion that this is a solution that could drive a bit of a wedge between the countries of the Visegrad Group (the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia).
He added that Slovakia has been more successful when dealing with this issue. It adopted needed measures and arrived with concrete proposals at the EU Bratislava summit in September 2016. As well as this, Slovakia won some points when it helped the Austrians with their refugees in 2015. At that time, the Slovak government made an agreement with Austria to temporarily house 500 refugees who were seeking asylum there. The refugees were given shelter at the former refugee camp in Gabčíkovo.
Kaliňák believes that Slovakia has shown that there are solutions that allow zero secondary movement of migrants and absolute security and help a country that is burdened with a high possibility of migration.
“Also because of this Slovakia, unlike the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, was active and successful,” said Kaliňák as cited by the TASR newswire. “It has shown that these measures are effective whereas compulsory quotas have been shown to be completely ineffective; this is also the reason why Slovakia is not in this group today [meaning the remaining countries of the V4 being taken to court].”
He added that this situation does not please Slovakia and that that it stands squarely with the other three members of the V4 group.
The minister warned that in this respect the latest proposals from the Estonian presidency of the Council of the European Union, according to which member countries “buy out” of the scheme of compulsory quotas by providing a higher number of policemen or needed equipment for problematic borders, resemble Slovakia’s proposals from the Bratislava summit.
“This is the correct path,” said Kaliňák. “Many countries do not want to acknowledge mistakes. They should show their political maturity and acknowledge that they were wrong in September 2015 and acknowledge that it is necessary to take a different path.”
About the latest proposals by the EC dealing with the reform of the Dublin asylum system, indicating the possibility of compulsory quotas during crisis management situations and volunteer relocation quotas during calmer periods, Kaliňák said that these are “compulsory quotas painted pink”.
Slovakia will not change its position
“They will be still compulsory quotas,” said Kaliňák. “This will be still be against the principles we follow. I do not understand how somebody, even after years of experience, can have a tendency to adopt measures that have shown to be ineffective and do not work.”
Kaliňák recalled that there are now many more member countries that are against the system of quotas than in September 2015, when Slovakia was the leader of this campaign. Gradually the Czechs, Hungarians, Poles and Romanians have aligned with their position.
He added that Slovakia will not change its stance because experience has shown that the compulsory quotas are ineffective against illegal migration. Kaliňák expressed the hope that the upcoming Bulgarian presidency would support other, more effective solutions.