On Wednesday, the Visegrád Group countries (Hungry, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic), reasserted their right to decide for themselves how many migrants to allow in, and their refusal to operate the mandatory migrant settlement quotas the European Union is envisaging sharing out between Member States. “The principal of voluntary participation is a clear priority” for these four countries, as emphasises a joint declaration of the Prime Ministers in the Visegrád Group published in Prague. “Resettlement efforts should be undertaken on a voluntary basis, respecting both the specific circumstances and opportunities within Member States,” the text also indicates.
For these four central European countries “all calls for mandatory quotas are unacceptable.” However, the text does express “solidarity with the European Union countries that are most at risk from migration pressures.” Calling for a “more systematic” and “geographically more balanced” solution to the migration crisis, the four countries have underlined the need for an “immediate reaction” to the present situation. “All EU Member States should collaborate in resolving the situation, which is critical for non-EU borders,” the declaration states.
Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have already expressed their wish to accept migrants but on a voluntary basis without using compulsory quotas. On Wednesday, in Budapest, the right-wing government reversed its decision, announced on Tuesday evening, to suspend a key European regulation on asylum applications. According to official figures, the Hungarian police arrested and questioned more than 60,000 illegal immigrants between January 1st and June 22nd. Nearly all of these people, who for the most part were from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, but also from Kosovo, were arrested at the Hungarian-Serbian border.