A temporary center hosting migrants and refugees at the Athens district of Elaionas. [EPA]
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Thursday said leaders of the Visegrad Four countries Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic will skip a European Union mini-summit on the migration crisis this weekend.
All four eastern EU states strongly oppose calls from western counterparts especially Germany for all member states to accept a quota of migrants who have streamed into the EU since 2015 in order to share the burden around the bloc.
Orban said such meetings of state leaders should be organized by the European Council, the bloc’s top decision-making body, not the European Commission, which is overseeing the smaller summit ahead of a full 28-state summit next week.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, at odds with a coalition partner over its demands to turn back migrants at the border, pushed for an emergency meeting this Sunday with leaders from nine other countries – including Italy, Greece, France, Austria, Bulgaria and the Netherlands.
"We understand there are domestic political difficulties in some countries but that cannot lead to pan-European haste," Orban said. "We understand that there will... be a mini-summit on Sunday but we would like to state clearly that the prime ministers of V4 agreed that they will not go to that."
Orban spoke at a meeting of the Visegrad Four along with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who heads an anti-immigrant government like the other four countries. [Reuters]