Lithuania supports the one-time proposal from the European Commission (EC) for the country to accept 1,105 refugees over two years amid Europe’s efforts to resettle more than 150,000 people, said Grybauskaitė, emphasizing that Lithuania views this “as a recommendation”.
“Without a doubt, none of us would want solidarity to be based on some coercive mechanisms. We are equal countries that are friendly towards each other, therefore, we would want to solve matters by consensus and in a friendly way,” the president told Vilnius journalists on Thursday.
Europe’s most influential politician, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, has urged other countries to agree to the mandatory refugee quotas, calling for a proportional system that would be independent from the number of arriving persons.
Lithuania and other Central and Eastern European nations have so far opposed the proposal of developing a permanent crisis refugee resettlement mechanism. In fears of even bigger flows of immigrants, they want the voluntary principle to continue. The strongest position on the matter has been stated by countries of the Visegrad Group, namely, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland.
After stating support for temporary distribution of 160,000 refugees among member-states, Grybauskaitė refused to elaborate on the proposed permanent mechanism on Thursday.
“There are various proposals at the moment, they are only proposals, and various comments come from various countries (…). Having arguments in advance about whether it is mandatory or not mandatory makes no sense,” said the Lithuanian president.