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NGO: Immigration lower, fears stronger in V4 than West EU

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Prague, Feb 12 (CTK) – The number of immigrants and asylum holders is rather lower in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia compared to the West European countries, but the population of the above four countries mostly opposes all forms of immigration, the People in Need NGO said on Monday.

In its fresh report, the Czech humanitarian organisation writes that asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection represented only 0.03 percent of the Czech and Hungarian population and in Slovakia it was 0.01 percent in 2016. In Slovakia, there was one asylum seeker per 10,000 inhabitants and in Poland one per 100,000 inhabitants.

However, the Visegrad Four (V4) countries are strongly against a common European migration policy, the report confirms.

There were practically no foreigners in Poland (0.04 percent) at the end of 2016. The relative number of foreigners in Hungary (1.56 percent), Slovakia (1.72 percent) and the Czech Republic (4.66 percent) was markedly lower than in the old EU member countries.

More than half of the foreigners living in the Czech Republic were Ukrainians, Slovaks and Vietnamese.

Tereza Freidingerova, author of the Czech part of the report, said Ukrainians were the largest ethnic group among those who sought asylum in the Czech Republic, while in Poland three fourths of asylum seekers were Russians, in Hungary half of asylum seekers were Afghans and Syrians, and in Slovakia asylum seekers came from several different countries.

The report says nearly 40 percent of the V4 population perceived immigration from other EU member countries rather negatively, with the Czechs being the most sceptical (48 percent) and the Poles the least (24 percent), according to a Eurobarometer survey from last May.

Immigration from outside the EU makes the V4 inhabitants even more wary: the negative attitude was shared by 81 percent pf Czechs and Slovaks, 78 percent of Hungarians and 71 percent of Poles, while the EU average was 54 percent.

Only a small part of the V4 inhabitants share the view that immigrants are a contribution for their countries – 30 percent of Poles, 16 percent of Czechs, 14 percent of Slovaks and 12 percent of Hungarians. The EU average was 47 percent.

The opposition to quotas for the redistribution of refugees is highest in the Czech Republic (56 percent), followed by Hungary (45 percent), Poland (42 percent) and Slovakia (31 percent). The EU average was 25 percent.

Number of foreigners and asylum seekers in Visegrad Four (V4) countries in 2016 (in percent of total population):

Foreigners asylum seekers
Czech Republic 4.66 0.03
Hungary 1.56 0.03
Poland 0.039 0.001
Slovakia 1.72 0.01
Source: People in Need

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