Višegrad group blocks EU agreement on redistribution of migrants
EU interior ministers on Monday failed to reach agreement on mandatory quotas for the redistribution of 120,000 migrants across the EU. Efforts by West European states to get firm commitments and a timetable for redistribution were blocked by the Czech Republic and three other Višegrad Group states which have refused to accept mandatory quotas on the argument that they simply will not work.
“The arguments in favour of quotas revolved around the principle of solidarity. We are not resisting solidarity, but we are stressing the need to find a responsible, viable solution to the migrant crisis and we keep pointing out that this mandatory redistribution of refugees will not work. The refugees arriving in Europe do not want to stay in the Czech Republic and we do not see how we can keep them here against their will. The redistribution plan proposed by the EC is an empty political proclamation that will merely satisfy short-term media and public demand but will not resolve the problem. It would be dishonest to support that.”
Asked whether the Czech Republic did not fear a pay-back for blocking the EU agreement on migrant quotas Interior Minister Chovanec had this to say.
“There are times when you need to put up a fight and defend your views and we are convinced that we are right about this. This is not about unwillingness to help or cooperate. We have supported all other EU initiatives in this matter– the registration hot spots, military operations at sea, securing the EUs outer borders, helping set up refugee camps in the region of the conflict. All that we are saying is that mandatory quotas in Europe will not work. And unless we can come up with a solution that works the situation in Europe will rapidly deteriorate. That is our thinking. I do not know if it will trigger a pay-back, I hope not, but if it does, then it can’t be helped.”
At the end of several hours of stormy negotiations the meeting of EU interior ministers refrained for taking a vote on the proposed plan although the countries backing it would have been able to push it through on a qualified majority. Instead a decision has been postponed until October 8th in the hope that more time will open the way for a compromise.