Thursday

21st Jan 2021

Slovak PM: Human rights are not a travel pass to EU

  • Fico (l) said there is no future for mandatory quotas in EU asylum policy (Photo: © European Union)

Slovakia's prime minister Robert Fico has said human rights do not give people fleeing Libya the right to enter the European Union.

"There is no human right to travel to the European Union and the European Union must protect itself," he told reporters at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday (14 December).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

He said the EU instead needed to shore up Libyan borders and that Slovakia, has offered, along with Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, some €35 million for the Italian-led effort.

"Libya also needs a lot of technical assistance, so this is our approach that we want to go to Libya, that we want to cooperate with Libyan authorities and we want to guarantee that borders are protected," he said.

He noted that Slovakia was willing to take in refugees but flat out rejected any EU proposal that would allocate a set quota of people to the country.

The €35 million was decided following a joint Visegrad letter to Italy's prime minister Paolo Gentiloni in July. The letter had asked what Italy needed or wanted.

Hungary, which presides over the Visegrad group, says the money is a demonstration of solidarity amid broader plans to tighten security and prevent people from entering the European Union in the first place.

"If necessary and helpful, we are ready to take part in the effective operational management of this whole thing," said Viktor Orban, Hungary's prime minister.

Speaking alongside EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker also on Thursday, Orban said the EU's migration policy has helped "defend outside borders".

Juncker said a meeting with the Visegrad in October was aimed at securing closer cooperation.

He described the financial contribution as proof "that the Visegrad countries are fully aligned when it comes to solidarity with Italy and with others."

The EU commission last week took the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to the EU's top court for having refused to participate in a 2015 scheme that relocated asylum seekers from Greece and Italy.

Italy's Gentiloni told reporters following the meeting with the Visegrad group that thier focus on border closures and walls within the EU still remained the wrong response.

"We think that the closures are wrong, the walls are wrong, the relocation of shares is the 'minimum wage' for the EU," he said.

EU asylum debate reopens old wounds

EU leaders discussed asylum reforms in an effort to reach a consensus by next June, but divisions remain wide as concept of 'solidarity' becomes ever more elusive.

Showdown EU vote on asylum looking likely for next June

Divisions on relocating asylum seekers remain entrenched following an EU summit. The east-west divide opens up the possibility of relying on a majority vote for a key asylum in June, further exacerbating disputes among opposing capitals.

EU Parliament pressing for inquiry into Frontex

MEPs are drumming up support for an inquiry into the EU's controversial border and coast guard agency, Frontex. So far, the Greens, the left-wing GUE, and Renew Europe are on board - amid expectations the centre-left S&D will also join.

Turkey snubs Greece on migrant returnees

The Greek government last week requested that the European Commission and EU border agency Frontex help return 1,450 failed asylum seekers to Turkey. Turkey has refused, citing the pandemic.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary gives initial ok for UK and Russian vaccines
  2. Russia files for Sputnik vaccine registration in EU
  3. Destruction and three deaths in Madrid explosion
  4. Liberals kick out Lithuanian MEP for homophobic jibes
  5. Air pollution killing thousands of Europeans a year
  6. First migrant tragedy of 2021 claims 43 lives
  7. Train revival needed to meet EU climate goals
  8. NGOs shame Monaco for persecuting UK whistleblower

EU demands answers on Croat border attacks against migrants

EU commissioner Ylva Johansson wants to send her officials to Croatia sometime this month to make sure authorities there are complying with fundamental rights following numerous allegations of violence against migrants and asylum seekers attempting to cross into the country.

EU watchdog launches probe on Croat border violence

The European Ombudsman is launching a case into the lack of proper oversight by the European Commission when it comes to how fundamental rights of migrants and refugees are allegedly being violated by Croat border police.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAEU Code of Conduct can showcase PPPs delivering healthier more sustainable society
  2. CESIKlaus Heeger and Romain Wolff re-elected Secretary General and President of independent trade unions in Europe (CESI)
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen benefit in the digitalised labour market
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersReport: The prevalence of men who use internet forums characterised by misogyny
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic climate debate on 17 November!
  6. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice

Latest News

  1. US returns to climate deal and WHO, as EU 'rejoices'
  2. Big tech: From Trump's best friend to censorship machine?
  3. Turkish minister in Brussels to discuss new migrant deal
  4. EU leaders to discuss vaccine certificates
  5. On Erdoğan and Europe's 'ontological' choice
  6. MEPs call to halt Russia pipeline over Navalny arrest
  7. EU targets vaccinating 70% of adults by summer
  8. Portugal pushes to start delayed 'future EU' conference

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us