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Slovakia: The refugee crisis in the Mediterranean warms up discussions about migration (Unofficial translation)

Recent developments in the Mediterranean and increasing flows of refugees to Europe warmed up discussions about migration in Slovakia - in the media and also on the highest level of official representatives.

Minister of European and Foreign Affairs Miroslav Lajčák expressed the will of Slovakia to solidarity with other EU member states during the 22 April summit in Brussels: “We have solidarity concerning all EU problems. This migration doesn’t affect us as it does the Southern countries, but it doesn’t change anything. Slovakia is also an EU frontier country, and we can hypothetically imagine that this situation could come from the East, and then we would be concerned in a major way. This is how we want to approach this issue.” Read more here.

However, the discourse of the official representatives is more opposed to this solidarity approach. Different official representatives of the government and representatives of political parties declared that Slovakia will not accept any new refugees in addition of those applying for asylum in the country. Read more here.

Migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea are seen by government representatives as illegal economic migrants without any entitlement to international protection. This attitude of the Ministry of Interior was broadly criticized by independent experts and journalists. The critique appealed the government to accept more refugees in Slovakia, to join EU policy, to change national policies in order to make conditions to entry easier and to symbolically express their solidarity to the recent developments. Read more here and here.

The hottest issue in Slovakia is the potential increase of refugees in the country due to the EU quota policy. One of the EU proposals is that the refugees will be allocated to EU member states according to a distribution mechanism, in order to relieve South European countries from huge inflow of migrants. The Prime minister of the country Robert Fico strictly refused any quota policy. Read more here

Besides, the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic is also opposed to a quota policy. The institution sees a solution in strengthening border controls. According to the Ministry, it would more effective to strengthen FRONTEX and to have a better application of Schengen criterion on borders. Ministry also declares that Slovakia is prepared to accept more asylum seekers in case of any humanitarian crisis or war conflicts but the main solution should be on the arms of other countries. Read more here

Slovakia granted, according to statistics of the Ministry of Interior, 14 refugee status in 2014 and 15 in 2013. No asylum seeker from Ukraine or Syria was granted asylum during the last two years. Statistical data can be read here.