Julian Robinson, Daily Mail, January 26, 2016
The European Union is committing ‘ritual suicide’ with its migration policy, according to the Slovak prime minister.
Robert Fico urged the 28-member bloc to stop the inflow of migrants and called the EU’s proposed quota system for distributing migrants a ‘complete fiasco’.
His warning came as the Netherlands’ EU commissioner Frans Timmermans claimed 60 per cent of those flocking to Europe were economic migrants and not fleeing from war.
The 51-year-old Slovak leader, a left-winger known for his anti-immigrant rhetoric, told Czech newspaper Pravo: ‘I feel that we in the EU are now committing ritual suicide and we’re just looking on.’
Fico, whose party is expected to win a general election in March, said the EU should first of all stop the influx of ‘illegal migrants’.
‘If it takes until late 2016 or 2017 for Europe to set up its planned border and coastguard force, the EU will have killed itself,’ Fico said, adding that Slovakia had 300 police officers ready to deploy at the external borders of the passport-free Schengen area.
‘We often stew in our own juices, tackling quotas which are nonsense . . . and in the meantime several thousand migrants arrive in Europe every day,’ the premier said.
Slovakia, a eurozone member of 5.4 million people, has filed a lawsuit against the EU-proposed quota system for distributing migrants across the continent, just like neighbouring Hungary.
Fico said the system had turned out ‘a complete fiasco’ and that thousands of migrants distributed according to quotas were impossible to integrate in Slovakia.
‘If, based on temporary or permanent quotas, someone forces us to import 50,000 people with completely different habits and religions–and these are mostly young men–I can’t imagine how we could integrate them. We can’t,’ he said.
‘They would end up in a space with its own life and its own rules, and this is why I’m saying this idea is wrong and unfeasible.’
Holland’s EU commissioner Frans Timmermans claimed more than half of those coming to Europe as asylum seekers are not fleeing conflict.
He told Nos: ‘More than half of the people now coming to Europe come from countries where you can assume they have no reason whatsoever to ask for refugee status. More than half, 60%.’
He said he based his claim on figures from European border agency Frontex–statistics that are yet to be made public.
Meanwhile, the Czech Republic has invited fellow EU members Hungary, Poland and Slovakia to a special summit on migration next month as the bloc grapples with the record migrant crisis, the Czech prime minister said on Tuesday.
‘The Czech Republic will call an extraordinary summit of the Visegrad-four countries for February 15,’ Premier Bohuslav Sobotka said, specifying that the migrant crisis would top the agenda.
His spokesman was not immediately available to give details.
The Czech Republic holds the rotating presidency of the so-called Visegrad group, which brings together four central European ex-communist countries.
All four have rejected the EU’s plan for quotas to distribute migrants across the continent.
They have instead insisted on tighter border control for the 26-member passport-free Schengen zone and other steps that would reduce the influx of refugees and migrants into Europe.
More than one million people reached Europe in 2015, most of them refugees fleeing war and violence in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, according to the United Nations refugee agency.
But few asylum-seekers have chosen to stay in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland, while Hungary last year built a fence to deflect a migrant wave heading from the Balkans westwards to wealthier EU members such as Germany.