Prague, Jan 19 (CTK) – The interior ministers of the Visegrad Four (V4) group including the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia again rejected the idea of mandatory refugee quotas in a joint memorandum yesterday and said the opening of effective hotspots on the EU outer border is a priority, Milan Chovanec said.
Chovanec, who is Czech interior minister, told the reporters that the hotspots should also serve as detention facilities that refugees would not be able to leave before their identity is determined.
“The V4 countries still reject the mandatory quotas for refugee relocation,” Chovanec (Social Democrats, CSSD) said after meeting his Hungarian, Polish and Slovak counterparts.
He said the ministers included this position in their planned joint memorandum on the proposal of Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak yesterday.
The V4 countries share the view that illegal migration can only be stemmed by consistent protection of the EU external borders. That is why it is necessary to ensure the operation of hotspots based on the agreement previously reached on the EU level, Chovanec said.
“These hotspots have to operate as detention facilities where the migrants’ movement and freedom will be restricted until their check is completed,” Chovanec said.
Supporting this view, Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kalinak said “it is impossible to fight illegal migration without them [refugees] staying in detention facilities.”
Kalinak said the hotspots should prevent the cases of refugees being registered at various places under different identities or not being registered at all.
At the same time, the risk of abusing false Syrian passports should decrease, Kalinak said.
Another task for the hotspots is to differentiate between war refugees and economic migrants, he said.
Blaszczak said an important precondition for Europe to cope with the migrant wave is a change in the approach of the migrant destination countries.
“Unless the countries that are [migrant] destination countries change their policy, it is unreasonable to believe that we will cope with the situation,” Blaszczak said.
Kalinak said the countries of destination are neither the V4 countries nor the EU’s southern members, and that most of the refugees head for Germany.
Germany has shown an accommodating approach to immigrants so far, for which Chancellor Angela Merkel faces criticism both at home and abroad.
The V4 interior ministers made it clear yesterday that their countries will take a united joint approach to the migrant crisis. Apart from effective hotspots, the V4 countries will also support the creation of a joint European border guard.
The ministers said the proof that the V4 cooperation is effective is that the V4 countries have jointly reacted to the migrant pressure on the borders of the Balkan states.
They are ready to continue their cooperation in this area. That is why representatives of Serbia and Macedonia have been invited to the afternoon part of the V4 meeting yesterday to address requests to the V4, Chovanec said.
Hungary was represented by its ambassador to Prague, Tibor Petoe, at the meeting yesterday. Chovanec said the Hungarian minister has not arrived because he is tackling serious domestic political problems.