Croatia, Visegrad Group leaders discuss migration crisis

Budapest, Oct 10 (IANS) The presidents of the four countries of the Visegrad Group — Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland — together with the Croatian head of state, focused on the current migration crisis at a two-day meeting in Balatonfured, Hungary.

Czech President Milos Zeman, Polish President Andrzej Duda, Slovak President Andrej Kiska and Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic joined their host, Hungarian President Janos Ader, who called for urgent measures to combat the migration crisis, Xinhua news agency reported.

Addressing a joint press conference, Ader said the presidents agreed on the most important aspects of the migration crisis.

He called for more decisive action against people-smugglers as one way to stem the tide of refugees, although he acknowledged that solidarity with the asylum-seekers was equally important.

Ader said the migration crisis was a humanitarian, law enforcement and security challenge. Over 300,000 migrants have arrived in Hungary, and over 100,000 in Croatia, and the EU is obliged to take care of them, he added.

The presidents agreed that the protection of the EU borders must be the strengthened.

Czech President Zeman said Hungary understood that his country and Croatia were in a particularly tough situation as border countries, and for the moment the EU appeared incapable to protecting its borders.

He said Czech government had decided to deploy Czech troops at the Hungary-Croatia border.

Polish President Duda urged the EU to take effective and satisfactory measures, which he said was lacking at present.

He criticised the EU plan to distribute 120,000 refugees as ineffective, although Poland had voted in favour of the idea.

Duda said though some European countries disapprove of the quota system, they deem humanitarian aspects important. The quota system is not an effective solution, he said.

Slovak President Kiska emphasised the need for solidarity within the EU, and said he saw a danger of Europe falling apart into eastern and western sections, and old and new EU members.

Grabar-Kitarovic emphasised that the migration issue was something that the EU would have to face on long term. It would continue to be a problem in coming years, she said, adding that a distinction should be made between refugees and economic migrants.

Hungary has already fenced off its border with non-EU-member Serbia, a move which triggered a critical response from many EU officials.

Hungary is considering closing down its border with neighbouring EU-member Croatia, from which thousands of refugees have been entering Hungary day in and day out.

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