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Migration: Visegrad Group pledges EUR 35m to help Italy

PR dla Zagranicy
Paweł Kononczuk 14.12.2017 14:15
Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have vowed to contribute some EUR 9 million each to support Italy in projects aiming at stopping illegal migration from Libya.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. Photo: EPA/STEPHANIE LECOCQPolish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. Photo: EPA/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

The pledge was announced on Thursday by Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico ahead of an EU summit in Brussels focusing on issues including migration.

"We want to demonstrate that solidarity is something that we fully respect," Fico told journalists after a meeting of Visegrad Group leaders with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

Gentiloni thanked the Visegrad Group -- a regional cooperation platform comprising Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic -- for the financial pledge, but said mandatory migrant quotas were a “minimum requirement” by the EU.

After arriving in Brussels for the summit, Poland’s new Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said earlier on Thursday that Poland’s stance on refugees was becoming better understood in the European Union.

"We will be presenting our approach to relocation policy, to policy on refugees... I am very happy that this approach is becoming increasingly understood in Brussels," said Morawiecki, who was on his first foreign trip as prime minister.

Court action

The European Commission last week said it was taking Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary to the Court of Justice of the EU, the bloc’s top EU court, for refusing to accept migrant quotas.

But Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak vowed that Warsaw would not cave in to demands by Brussels, arguing that Islamic migrant communities in Europe increased the threat of terrorism.

Waves of migrants

In September 2015, EU leaders agreed that each country in the bloc would accept a number of migrants over two years to alleviate the pressure on Italy and Greece, which have seen waves of migrants arriving from the Middle East and Africa.

EU leaders agreed to relocate a total of about 160,000 migrants of more than 2 million people who arrived in Europe since 2015.

Poland’s previous government led by the Civic Platform party agreed to take in over 6,000 people.

But after coming to power in October 2015, Poland's conservative Law and Justice (PiS) government has staunchly opposed the arrangement.

Former Polish conservative Prime Minister Beata Szydło previously said that Poland was supporting those in need by increasing humanitarian aid to the victims of the war in Syria and by working with aid organisations to rebuild hospitals.

In late October, Szydło said that Poland stood in solidarity with African nations and was ready to help them financially as part of efforts to "stop illegal migration."


Source: PAP

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