Repeatedly criticizing European Commission’s policy in regard to the refugee resettlement matter, Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma admitted that Latvia will not be able to avoid resettling a larger number of refugees, as reported by lsm.lv.
«It is very realistic,» – said Straujuma in an interview to Rīta Panorāma programme when she was asked the question as to whether or not Latvia, according to EC President Jean-Claude Juncker’s latest plan, will have to resettle more refugees. The plan states ‘hundreds, not thousands of people’. «I do not believe we will be able to avoid the gesture of solidarity here,» – said the PM.
At the same time, Straujuma did not hide that she would say ‘yes’ to Brussels’ refugee resettlement plan only if she receives support from the coalition. «Without a mandate, I cannot travel and discuss a different number and different conditions,» – she said.
When asked how she would describe the colour of the government’s future, seeing as how one of the partners of the coalition – National Alliance – is against refugee resettlement in Latvia, Straujuma said: «I don’t paint, I work. It will choose its own colours».
The three Baltic States may soon reach an agreement on a joint policy in the refugee matter.
However, the PM did not immediately criticize EC in its updated refugee policy. She believes it is necessary to create a list of countries whose refugees should be allowed to resettle.
«I can accept that EC may not be as serious as it should be in matters concerning prevention of refugee influx […] It is absolutely clear that Europe cannot resettle economic refugees,» – said Straujuma. «This massive influx is odd. African countries have been unstable for years, but this influx is very clear,» – said Straujuma.
At the same time, the PM admitted that lately there have been talks in the EU that countries that refuse to resettle refugees could receive reduced financial support from the EU in order to divide money in favour of supporting asylum seekers.
President of Latvia Raimonds Vejonis has said Latvia will protest against mandatory refugee resettlement. The country will remain with a voluntary principle. Nevertheless, Latvia will voice support to solidarity in solving this problem.
Following a discussion regarding the general attitude toward migration and refugee resettlement matter, officials agreed that an exact number of refugees is currently not on the agenda. For now, it is necessary to wait for a clear proposal from EC. Vejonis agreed that there are many unanswered questions. One question is strengthening of the EU outer borders. «Before we talk about mechanisms to help Europe resolve the massive refugee matter, we need to look for answers to questions currently worked on by an inter-institutional work group formed for the refugee matter,» – said Raimonds Vejonis.