kolinda grabar kitarovic, kisk.jpg
Photograph: EPA/JAKUB GAVLAK

The issue of immigration to the European Union in Slovakia, which has sued the bloc for imposing migrant quotas on it, has been marked by the fact that it is taking place during the election period, Slovak President Andrej Kiska said in Bratislava on Wednesday.

If it were not for the elections, which are scheduled to take place in less than 100 days, I am confident that both the discussion and steps taken by the Slovak government regarding this issue, would be different, Kiska told a joint news conference with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, when he was asked to comment on a suit his country had filed against the EU over the issue of migrant quotas and possible consequences for Slovakia.

If, however, the government is confident that it has strong arguments, it is entitled to file such a suit, Kiska said, adding that he, as president of the republic, would reiterate what he has been saying since the start of the migration crisis and that is that everyone must show solidarity but also give their best to prevent this crisis from leading to divisions in the European Union.

Responding to the same question, Grabar-Kitarovic said she had always advocated the right of every country to make its own decisions "on policies which are not in the domain in which sovereignty is divided," stressing that the question of quotas was the question to all countries, namely whether they would stick to the given quotas or not and if they would agree to the quota system envisaged by the European Commission.

However, since the migrant quotas were first mentioned, I have been stressing that they are not a good solution. Migrant quotas can only be a temporary solution, but they will not solve migration causes at their root, Grabar-Kitarovic said, reiterating this was a complex problem that Europe would have to deal with for years, so comprehensive solutions were necessary.

On the one hand, this is a humanitarian issue of providing for people who are escaping danger, but on the  other this is an issue of national security, economy and integration of those people into our societies. This is why it is necessary to find a common European policy, not only in responding to the consequences of the crisis but also to its causes, Grabar-Kitarovic said.

As much as we recognise other people's right to a better life, the fact remains the neither the European Union nor our individual countries have the capacity to receive all those people in the world who are migrating today. This is millions and millions of people, Grabar-Kitarovic said, adding that at this moment short-term measure must be produced to stop the problem where it had started for the European Union -- at the Greece-Turkey border.

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