V4 Presidents: Migrants Need to Be Helped in Their Home Countries

Two-day summit of the presidents of the Visegrad Four group (photo by TASR)

Strbske Pleso, October 12 (TASR) – Regarding the rise of xenophobia, extremism and nationalism in Europe, we need to defend the joint EU project, stated Slovak President Andrej Kiska at a two-day summit of the presidents of the Visegrad Four (V4) group which took place in Strbske Pleso (Presov region) between October 11-12.

Kiska stressed that the EU-member states should be tolerant to each other and that the V4 countries should work towards the unification of the Union. “Any discussions about dividing Europe into old, new or a two speed Europe – this is not how we see the EU in the future,” said Kiska.

The Slovak president, Hungarian President Janos Ader, Czech President Milos Zeman and Polish President Andrzej Duda at the summit concurred that regarding the migrant crisis, the migrants should be helped in their countries of origin so that they don’t have to leave their home countries. At the same time the V4 presidents stressed the need to protect the EU’s external borders and fight against traffickers.

“If it’s possible the protection of the external border should be carried out by the national army. The country should protect its borders from its own resources. Frontex [European Border and Coast Guard Agency] should help only if the country lacks funds, skills or personnel,” said the Hungarian president, adding that boosting the economic stability of the countries from which migrants are coming will decrease their mass arrival into Europe.

The Czech president agreed with his Hungarian counterpart, giving Syria as an example. “In my opinion the civil war is coming to an end in Syria and a great deal of necessary investment need to be done there. It would surely be more meaningful to help to restore the local infrastructure than relocate them [migrants in Europe], as they eventually all end up in Germany,” said Zeman, referring to the fact that most of the migrants coming to Europe are heading to Germany.

The Polish president pointed out that the V4 countries were clearly right when they spoke about ineffectiveness of migration quotas three years ago. Duda also noted that Europe hasn’t effectively fought against migrant smugglers.
Kiska positively evaluated the Frontex activities, saying that without its work the individual EU countries could have had the tendency to introduce checks at their borders, which isn’t right.