Sunday

1st Aug 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.

'We are not slaves': Brussels' migrant hunger-strike

Almost 500 undocumented migrants in Brussels have been demanding a legal pathway for residency in Belgium. Most have been on hunger strike since 23 May, with some now refusing water. MEPs are demanding the Belgian government offer them a solution.

Frontex chief accused of possible rights 'cover up'

A group of MEPs delivered their final report into the EU's border agency Frontex. After a four-month probe, they found it had failed to take its responsibility to protect fundamental rights at Europe's external borders.

Syria refugees prefer Libya sea-crossing to 'dangerous' Greece

A group of Syrians fleeing their country say that Greece has become too dangerous and expensive as an option to enter the EU, in order to claim asylum. They have instead opted for Libya and the highly-risky Mediterranean sea-crossing.

News in Brief

  1. Officials worried at infection-surge on Greek holiday islands
  2. EU calls on online platforms to tackle vaccine hesitancy
  3. Russia accused of falling short on Sputnik V deliveries
  4. France: UK quarantine rules 'discriminatory'
  5. Italy's government reaches deal on judicial reform
  6. EU adopts guidelines to 'climate-proof' infrastructure projects
  7. US backs WHO plan for further Covid-origin investigation
  8. EU to buy 220,000 supplies of potential Covid treatment

'We are not slaves': Brussels' migrant hunger-strike

Almost 500 undocumented migrants in Brussels have been demanding a legal pathway for residency in Belgium. Most have been on hunger strike since 23 May, with some now refusing water. MEPs are demanding the Belgian government offer them a solution.

Exclusive

EU firms up plans for Libya military mission

The EU is firming up plans for a military mission to Libya in order to compete with foreign powers there, according to a leaked paper seen by EUobserver.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. Malta responsible for journalist's death, inquiry finds
  2. Can Greece work with Biden to solve the West Balkans impasse?
  3. EU and UK frustrated at US travel ban extension
  4. Polish judges rally behind EU court ruling
  5. Why 'Fit for 55' isn't fit for purpose
  6. EU hits vaccination target, as Delta variant now dominates
  7. European arms 'displaced over a million people', research finds
  8. Brexit: what is the 'Lugano Convention' and does it matter?

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us