It’s one of many longest-running deadlocks within the European Union: the query of whether or not all EU member states ought to assist with relocating asylum seekers. Slovakia is without doubt one of the EU states which has lengthy refused to take folks in whereas their asylum requests are examined. We hear from International Minister Ivan Korcok, who doubles down on his nation’s stance.
Simply weeks after the European Fee requested member states to assist relocate 1,400 individuals who landed on Italy’s Lampedusa island in a single weekend, Slovakia’s overseas minister tells FRANCE 24: “We’re not able to say that we are going to relocate folks as a result of that is merely the consensus inside Slovakia […] as a substitute we’re providing different types of solidarity”.
On a compulsory quota for every EU member state to soak up asylum-seekers, Ivan Korcok says: “We preserve our place that within the mid- and long-term perspective, the necessary quota won’t assist, as a result of it nonetheless represents a pull issue by which migrants are attracted to return right here.”
In the meantime, Slovakia has change into the second EU member state to begin administering the Sputnik V vaccine in opposition to Covid-19. In April, the acquisition of two million doses of the Russian-developed jab in a deal secretly brokered by the then-prime minister sparked the collapse of the Slovakian authorities. Korcok says Slovakia intends to provide the Sputnik V vaccine to all Slovaks who request it, however that there’s little enthusiasm among the many inhabitants: “At this level we’ve got 200,000 doses in storage in Slovakia, and to this point there have been simply 5 to six,000 individuals who indicated they wish to have it.”
On re-opening journey across the European Schengen Space, the minister tells FRANCE 24: “We nonetheless must be cautious […] as a result of there are these variants. There’s nonetheless a threat. We bear in mind final summer season once we allowed our folks to maneuver after which the following wave got here.”
And as Joe Biden excursions Europe on his first overseas journey, Korcok speaks of his authorities’s hope for improved transatlantic relations beneath the brand new US president: “There was a hostile relationship on the facet of the earlier administration, the place the EU was brazenly named as an enemy of the US. I did not settle for it, as a result of I say the closest companions on this planet, on the subject of democracies and the West, are the US and the European Union. Subsequently my hope is that beneath the administration of President Biden, we’ll enhance precisely this a part of the transatlantic relations, and I’ve my expectations from the go to of President Biden.”
Produced by Perrine Desplats, Céline Schmitt, Isabelle Romero and Mathilde Bénézet