Interior minister: Lithuania ‘sceptical’ about EU migrant quotas

Saulius Skvernelis
DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

“We welcome the majority of measures proposed by the European Commission, aimed at taking the migrant crisis under control. But we are of a sceptical opinion regarding the creation of the European Commission-proposed relocation mechanism,” the minister was quoted as saying in a statement on Monday.

The statement was issued ahead of the Monday meeting of EU interior ministers in Brussels, held to discuss distribution of more than 150,000 migrants among EU member states and the creation of a permanent migrant quota system.

According to Skvernelis, “every crisis is exceptional and solutions cannot be the same and stereotypical” and “the efficiency and effect of the already-agreed temporary measures must be assessed before any discussion about mechanisms.”

Germany , which introduced border control on Sunday due to an influx of migrants, is strongly in favour of the system of mandatory quotas. But Central and Eastern European countries are against, saying that quotas would only fuel immigration instead of helping to solve the problem.

Skvernelis believes any resolution “should focus on effective protection of EU borders, improvement of the return mechanism and other measures.”

Last week, the European Commission suggested that member states should share 160,000 refuges, now in Hungary, Greece and Italy, over the next two years. Under the scheme, Lithuania will receive 1,105 refugees after the country’s government swiftly endorsed the proposal. The country’s government backed the proposal but underlined that countries should take in refuges n a voluntary basis.

If EU interior minister fail to agree on Monday, an emergency EU summit will be held later this month.

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