Danko: Small States Shouldn’t Be Punished for Their Opinions

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Slovak Parliamentary Chairman Andrej Danko at the lectern (stock photo by TASR)

Prague, June 6 (TASR-correspondent) – Small countries shouldn’t be punished for their opinions, not even in the matter of rejecting mandatory quotas for resettling migrants, concurred Slovak Parliamentary Chairman Andrej Danko (Slovak National Party/SNS) and Chairman of the Czech Parliament’s Upper House the Senate Milan Stech at a meeting on Monday.

“We’ve agreed that small states shouldn’t be punished for their opinions, as they aren’t hostile. It’s essential to be decent, but not to be afraid of speaking one’s own mind. Why should I be ashamed of saying that I’d like western countries to notice labouring Czechs and Slovaks just like they do immigrants. One shouldn’t be punished for one’s opinions, we’ve a right to it,” stated Danko.

Danko said that Slovakia and the Czech Republic respect obligations arising from EU membership, but they reject the introduction of obligatory quotas and possible sanctions for their non-application.

“We’ve concurred that the introduction of quotas and sanctions isn’t acceptable for us,” stated Stech, adding that the Czech Republic is also interested in meticulous protection of the Schengen area.

Danko added that small EU-member states, such as the members of Visegrad Four (Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic), should stick together and help each other. Slovakia’s upcoming Presidency of the Council of the EU is a chance to make the voice of the V4 more audible.

“It’s important to show that we respect our duties in the EU, but we also want to be understood by the EU,” said Danko, adding that no one wants to shatter the Union.

“We spoke about problems in Syria, as well. We’re on the same page concerning the importance of the United Nations being more active under its new leadership,” stressed Danko.

Danko is on his first official visit to Prague. He’s being accompanied by Parliamentary Vice-chairs Martin Glvac (Smer-SD), Andrej Hrnciar (Siet/Network) and Lucia Nicholsonova (Freedom and Solidarity/SaS).

The delegation also met Czech Foreign Affairs Minister Lubomir Zaoralek and took a look at the apartment of Jan Masaryk, who was Czechoslovak foreign affairs minister between 1940-48 [initially for the government in exile during WWII – ed. note] and son of the first Czechoslovak president Tomas Garrigue Masaryk.

Danko is still due to meet Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and to attend a dinner with Jan Hamacek, Chairman of Parliament’s Lower House the Chamber of Deputies.