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V4 reps reject European Commission’s proposal in Prague

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Prague, May 4 (CTK) – Representatives of the Visegrad Four (V4) rejected the European Commission’s proposal to redistribute migrants at their meeting in Prague on Wednesday and Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek said the EC should not table anything that divides Europe.

He spoke at a press conference at the end of a two-day meeting of the foreign ministers of the V4, which is comprised of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, and the Eastern Partnership countries.

Zaoralek reacted to a proposed reform of dealing with asylum applicants presented by the European Commission on Wednesday.

The reform was also criticised by President Milos Zeman whose spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said the proposal must be rejected.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said the proposal is inadmissible and called the EC’s stance blackmail.

Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said he is not sure whether the EC is serious about its proposal and the quotas were also rejected by Slovak State Secretary Lukas Parizek.

EU commissioner Johannes Hahn said the proposal is a compromise of various stances. He said no one is happy about the quotas, but that it seems that the migrant burden must be divided.

Zaoralek said the change to the asylum policy is a very fundamental change to the EU rules, and that the EC should take into consideration on what a sufficient number of EU members agree.

He said he is convinced that the proposal applies exactly the principle on which consent does not exist, which is the principle of a mandatory redistribution of migrants. That is why the proposal surprised him, he said.

Szijjarto said the proposal is strongly non-European and that it goes against common sense.

The Polish and Slovak interior ministers reacted similarly in Brussels earlier on Wednesday.

According to the EC proposal, the valid rule under which the asylum application is proceeded by the first EU country the applicant enters is completed with a crisis mechanism of redistribution to other EU countries. It would be automatically applied if the number of applicants were too high in a member country. The countries which would not want to abide by the new rule could pay 250,000 euros per rejected applicant.

On the margin of the joint talks, Zaoralek had several bilateral meetings.

In his talks with Azeri Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, Zaoralek discussed further opportunities for Czech investments in the Southern Caucasus.

Czech firms already participate in the reconstruction of the Baku-Tbilisi railway.

Zaoralek supported a peaceful solution to the Nagorno Karabakh situation.

He also called on Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian to deal with the conflict in consistence with international law.

In negotiations with his Belarussian counterpart Vladimir Makey, Zaoralek pointed out human rights observance as an important precondition for the development of bilateral relations.

He called for the release of political prisoners and offered Czech assistance in the modernisation of the Belarussian economy.

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