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 Visegrad group rejects EU proposal to distribute migrants

The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Visegrad Group countries met in Prague on Friday with their counterparts from the Luxembourg Presidency and Germany in order to discuss concrete measures within the external dimension of migration crisis.

Censor.NET reports citing Ukrinform

A week ago the prime ministers of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary reiterated their countries' opposition to EU proposals for refugee quotas at a meeting in Prague. This time it was the turn of the Visegrad Four foreign ministers, along with their counterparts from Germany, the strongest backer of the quota plan, and Luxembourg, which currently holds the EU presidency and also supports "relocation".

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Hungary, which along with the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland said it would not support the proposal, threatened instead to crack down on the thousands of people streaming across its borders daily as they flee war and persecution.

Just prior to Friday's meeting the Czech foreign minister, Lubomir Zaoralek, seemed to perhaps signal a change in his country's position, telling news websites that Prague did not want to be perceived as putting a brake on agreement on the quotas issue.
During a news conference alongside the other five foreign ministers Mr. Zaoralek said "cracks" had recently appeared between "old Europe" and Central and Eastern European states. But, he said, he supported a common, comprehensive European solution.

"We need to have control over how many (migrants) we are capable of accepting," Lubomir Zaoralek said.

Poland's Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna said the proposal of the European Commission, which wants EU countries to take in a total of 160,000 refugees is "preliminary and open," and that the V4 countries are ready to talk about a new approach to solve the crisis in Europe. Poland has agreed to take in 2,200 refugees, but the number could be raised.

"We believe that we should not leave those who find themselves in trouble. This issue is a test and a challenge for us not to divide Europe into a two-speed continent, Eastern Europe and Western Europe," Schetyna said.

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The German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, described the refugee crisis as the biggest challenge ever faced by the European Union. Berlin is expecting to take in at least 800,000 asylum seekers this year and Mr. Steinmeier said that one country simply couldn't handle such numbers alone.

EU ministers are scheduled to meet Monday to continue discussing possible solutions to the situation. The rejection of the quota proposal by Central European states will complicate any possible continentwide response.
 
 
 
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