Wednesday

20th Jun 2018

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).

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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 summit set to outsource asylum

Draft conclusions of the EU summit seen by this website suggest setting up "regional disembarkation platforms", possibly in countries near Libya, to separate asylum seekers and economic migrants.

EU states set to back some asylum reform laws

Efforts to reform 'Dublin', a regulation that determines who is responsible for asylum applications, remain mired in controversy. But other less contentious reforms that make up EU asylum laws have already reached provisional agreements.

Opinion

Fate of EU refugee deal hangs in the balance

Europe's choice is between unplanned, reactive, fragmented, ineffective migration policy and planned, regulated, documented movements of people, writes International Rescue Committee chief David Miliband.

Opinion

EU summit: migrants get a 'vote' too

Non-citizens from Nigeria to Afghanistan get a binding 'vote' on whatever the EU's internal debates submit to them. They will vote with their feet on whether to keep trying their luck when faced with a new system.

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