Latvia to object to refugee quotas

Latvia's will object to the European Commission's proposed refugee quotas, and will highlight the country's historical experience and current ethnic makeup to explain its position, informs LETA.

Interior Ministry Parliamentary Secretary Evika Silina said during a Saeima European Affairs Committee meeting today that the government has confirmed Latvia's position in the initial discussions on European migration matters.

Latvia is not prepared to support the refugee quota system, as it believes this is not the only mechanism to tackle this problem.

Latvia will also highlight the fact that because of the Soviet occupation, the number of ethnic Latvians living in the country is only a a bit more than 60% at the moment.

The Latvian position will also point out that there is no integration program in place for refugees at the moment. Latvia will also point out that it physically does not have the capacity to take in such a larger number of refugees.

At the same time, Latvia also understands that if the situation in Ukraine continues to deteriorate, Latvia and other eastern European countries will need assistance from other EU countries to take in refugees from Ukraine.

As reported, the European Commission has proposed taking in 20,000 refugees over two years and distributing them across Europe but giving Britain, Ireland, and Denmark the option not to accept any.

The issue will be decided by European leaders at a summit at the end of June.

According to the European Commission's proposed refugee quotas, Latvia could have to take in 737 refugees.

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