Slovak president on migrants: 'We must show our solidarity'

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The Slovak government is officially opposed to the imposition of migrant quotas on European countries. However, in an interview with Mediapart the president of Slovakia, Andrej Kiska, insists that his country must “abandon” its current stance. “We are capable of doing more for refugees,” he declared, ahead of a meeting of EU interior ministers on Tuesday to discuss how migrants are to be shared between members states. Mathieu Magnaudeix reports.

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On Tuesday, September 22nd, interior ministers from the European Union will meet to discuss the issue of quotas to divide up some 120,000 migrants between member states, ahead of a summit of heads of state and government on Wednesday. Along with Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic, Slovakia, a small country with just 5 million inhabitants, has so far rejected any quotas imposed by Brussels – a position that was reiterated on Monday. As a result France and Germany have threatened to cut off some EU structural funds from this so-called Visegrad Group of four nations. In the Slovak capital, Bratislava, the country's prime minister Robert Fico, a social-democrat with nationalistic tendencies, is vehemently opposed to any such quotas. “If a mechanism for automatic redistribution of migrants is adopted, then we will wake up one day and have 100,000 people from the Arab world and that is a problem I would not like Slovakia to have,” he told a press conference in late August. Six months before Parliamentary elections, his government is playing the nationalist card against refugees, who stand accused of being potential terrorists and of threatening to undermine Slovak national identity. Fico himself has said his country is only willing to accept “Christian refugees”.