Hojs opposes France’s proposal on migrants

Brussels/Lille – Interior Minister Aleš Hojs said on Thursday he opposed France’s proposal under which EU countries which do not wish to accept migrants would need to contribute financially. “I will not support this proposal because I think we first need to comprehensively evaluate what solidarity is,” he said in Lille.

The idea proposed by France is not completely new, as it had been on the table years ago but was not endorsed, Hojs said.

He believes it all depends on the amount that countries would need to pay – if it were relatively low than quite a few countries would decide for this option, he said.

For now, no concrete calculations have been made. A while ago, there was talk about a few ten thousand euro per migrant, which Hojs finds disproportionate and unacceptable. No country could agree to that, he said in a virtual talk with Slovenian reporters in Brussels.

France’s idea sounds nice, it is acceptable in the part that speaks of a voluntary approach to the migrant transfers, but then it adds that those that would not choose to participate would be punished, Hojs said.

The minister sees this as a new factor that encouraged migration. Last year, Slovenia was in the third place in the EU in terms of number of asylum requests per inhabitant, right behind Cyprus and Austria, which Hojs finds unimaginable and attributes to the fact that migrants are being increasingly instrumentalised and informed.

The number of asylum requests has doubled to almost 5,000, whereas more than 90% of the people do not wait for the proceedings to be concluded, which Hojs said was a “complete abuse of the asylum proceedings”.

This is why Slovenia has been striving to restrict movement of asylum seekers while they are waiting for a decision, he said.

As for the French proposal on a gradual adoption of the migration pact, Hojs said Slovenia had been constantly advocating the view that the legislation on border proceedings and the fingerprint database for identifying asylum seekers Eurodac could be adopted beforehand but had not succeeded, as quite a few countries were insisting on adopting the package in one piece.

Hojs also again commented on the issue of financing of border fences with EU funds. He said there was no point in persisting, as countries could use the promised EU funds to fortify their borders in other ways and use budget funds for the fences.

EU interior ministers discussed in Lille today fresh ideas for speeding up the overhaul of the Schengen zone and ensure a breakthrough with the adopting of the migration package in the face of developments related to Afghanistan and Belarus.

France announced at the start of its EU presidency that she would strive for gradual adoption of the migration package, which has been at a standstill since 2015 due to the controversial migration quotas.

Countries on the EU’s border, which have been the most affected by migration flows, have so far insisted on solidarity among member states, while about ten countries, including East European, Baltic countries and Slovenia, have been opposing obligatory migrant transfers.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin presented the latest proposal of offering countries a choice between accepting migrants or providing substantial financial aid in Lille today.