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Tusk in Prague: EU can cope with migrant crisis only if united

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Prague, Feb 16 (CTK) – The EU can cope with the migrant crisis only if united, European Council President Donald Tusk said after meeting Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka on Tuesday, praising the V4 group’s support for Macedonia but adding that the EU members afflicted by the crisis, such as Greece, must not be forgotten.

Leaders of the Visegrad Four (V4) countries, or the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, agreed at their extraordinary summit on February 15, also attended by the president of Macedonia and the prime minister of Bulgaria, that the EU should more support the latter two countries while introducing border protection measures.

The six leaders also agreed on the need to implement the EU-Turkey agreement and support Greece’s effort to meet the conditions of its Schengen membership, Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said after the summit on Monday.

Tusk appreciated the V4’s plans at a press conference following his meeting with Sobotka on Tuesday.

The bilateral support the V4 offered to Macedonia may be really significant, mainly from the point of view of the humanitarian situation at the Western Balkans, Tusk said.

These countries need the EU’s help, maybe an extra help, in order to cope with the stream of migrants, he added.

Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (CSSD) said one of the steps in support of Macedonia could be its joining the European Data System collecting information about refugees.

In the Interview programme on CT24 channel, Zaoralek said the EU should interfere in the European countries where the Schengen border protection did not work. However, not even the V4 countries have agreed on it yet, since Hungary and Poland are against it, he added.

Zaoralek said nothing indicated that a migrant wave would roll across the Czech Republic this year, which President Milos Zeman has mentioned.

Zeman proposed that military units be formed to help cope with the situation and that each EU member would contribute with 1,000 troops to them.

Zaoralek said the military was needed for the case of war, while the police should protect the border.

Sobotka asked Tusk for speeding up the establishment of a joint European border guard.

He voiced unambiguous support for the implementation of the EU’s agreement with Turkey on reducing the number of migrants coming to Europe.

“The developments on the Greek-Turkish border are crucial for tackling [the migrant crisis],” Sobotka said.

He said, nevertheless, that a joint solution should also involve the Western Balkans countries.

“We should seek ways to help these countries,” he said.

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