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PM: Schengen, EU future at stake during migrant crisis

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Bratislava, Jan 26 (CTK) – The future of the Schengen Area as well as of the whole European Union (EU) is at stake during the current migrant crisis, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said after a meeting with his Slovak counterpart Robert Fico yesterday.
Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) at the same time announced that he would convoke an extraordinary summit of the Visegrad Four Group (V4), comprised of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, for February 15 to deal with the refugee issues.
“It is apparent that Europe will have to prove its ability to solve the migrant crisis. Not only the future of Schengen is being decided about yesterday…, but also the future of the whole European Union,” said Sobotka, adding that both the Czech Republic and Slovakia are interested in the preservation of the Schengen Area of free movement.
The extraordinary V4 summit to be held by the Czech Republic in its capacity as the V4-presiding country should also deal with particular measures to improve the Schengen border protection.
“If Greece and Turkey fail in the outer border protection and the strong migrant pressure cannot be regulated, we must negotiate about a reserve solution,” Sobotka said.
He added that strengthening the protection of the Macedonia-Greece or Bulgaria-Greece borders should be taken into consideration.
“Greece has not been able to secure the protection [of the Schengen border] yet. It is a question whether Greece did not give it up a long time ago,” he noted.
Sobotka mentioned the possibility to create “a reserve border system” previously. He also talked about it yesterday, during his meeting with Fico (Smer-Social Democracy, Smer-SD) who supported his intention.
“There must be a reserve plan. Primarily Macedonia and Bulgaria may play a key role in the protection of the Schengen border. Then it is not substantial whether Greece is or is not part of Schengen,” Fico said.
Greece is not fulfilling the duties ensuing from its Schengen membership and this is why the EU-Turkey agreement on a solution to the migrant crisis will not work, Fico pointed out.
He said he expected the upcoming V4 summit to result in an agreement on further steps in the Schengen Area protection.
“We consider Schengen one of the most valuable treasures functioning in the European Union,” Fico said, adding that he believes in the ability of Europe to separate economic migrants from the refugees fleeing from war who need help.

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