Slovak PM says no pledge made on EU migrant quotas

By bne IntelliNews June 16, 2017

Slovakia has made not offered the European Commission a pledge to take part in the migrant quota scheme, Prime Minister Robert Fico suggested to parliament on June 15.

The statement comes shortly after the EU executive announced that it has launched infringement procedures against Slovakia’s Visegrad peers for failing to pledge to accept refugees under the controversial programme. It has been suggested that Bratislava, which has relocated just 16 of the 902 migrants it is marked down to host, is not being sanctioned because the commission is only hitting those that have not pledged to take in any refugees in the last 12 months.

Hungary and Poland have accepted no refugees under the scheme. The Czech Republic announced in mid-June it will not take any more than the 12 migrants that have been hosted thus far.

However, there is also some suspicion that Slovakia’s membership in the Eurozone, and enthusiasm to integrate with the “core” EU, has helped it escape punishment.

Slovakia has officially rejected the resettlement of migrants based on a quota scheme, Fico assured MPs. The country has a lawsuit lodged in the European Court of Justice against the obligation, which was approved by a qualified majority in the European Council in 2015.

"Has the Slovak government approved a tacit commitment to give consent to mandatory quotas?” asked an opposition MP in parliament, according to TASR.

"Migration still remains a grave issue, but it's not appropriate to abuse such a delicate problem for politicking,” said Fico somewhat evasively. “It's not possible to avoid the issue and, since the very beginning, we've promoted the principle of so-called effective solidarity – meaning that every country is obliged to contribute in some shape or form, as far as the impact of migration goes, but needs to maintain its sovereign right to choose how to express that solidarity."

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