Slovakia Committed to Providing 550 State Scholarships for Refugees

Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak (stock photo by TASR)

New York, September 21 (TASR-correspondent) – The summit on migrants organised by US President Barack Obama in New York on Tuesday was a successful one, said Slovak Foreign and European Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak, who on behalf of Slovakia has agreed to offer state scholarships to more than 500 people that were forced to leave their countries of origin.

“Another specific outcome is that the number of people that will be granted access to other countries will be doubled. Around one million people will be given access to education and another million to the labour market. These are the specific results of the summit. I consider it to be a great success that Slovakia was invited,” stated Lajcak.

“On behalf of Slovakia I’ve announced financial contributions. We’ve already provided more than €12 million to various UN and EU agencies addressing the issue of migration, and we’ll up this sum by a further €19 million by 2021. I’ve also committed [Slovakia] to provide 550 state scholarships to young people that will be able to come to Slovakia to study at our universities,” noted Lajcak.

Slovakia’s chief of diplomacy specified that these scholarships will be available for five years starting as of 2017. Applicants should not only show some interest in university education but also fulfil the preconditions for being successful students. These are people that were forced to leave their own countries, mainly Syria, added Lajcak.

However, the chosen applicants won’t be allowed to receive asylum in Slovakia. “They’ll be able to study here, but the point is that they should return to their countries after the end of their studies. We have to realise that there must be someone working towards the recovery of these countries in order for them to start functioning properly. The best category of people [to do this] are young educated people. We think it’s an investment in specific people but also in the future of countries that are currently stricken by conflict,” asserted Lajcak.

Slovakia won’t receive anything in return. “We didn’t ask for anything. It’s important for us to demonstrate that we don’t stand on the fringes, that migration is a phenomenon that won’t vanish in a month, or in a year. Everything suggests that it will continue, but we have to regulate it. We have to distinguish between refugees and economic migrants. We have to help people that are fighting for their lives. It’s extremely important for me that Slovakia doesn’t act as if this weren’t our concern,” stated Lajcak.

The migration crisis is the pivotal topic of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly. Two global events were dedicated to this issue – a summit on Monday organised by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that provided the legal framework and further steps to be taken, and a summit on Tuesday organised by US President Barack Obama that generated specific commitments.