Former president decries 'political circus' over refugees' fate

Take note – story published 8 years ago

Respected Latvian ex-president Vaira Vike-Freiberga on Tuesday expressed dismay that dicussions on refugee policy were turning into a "political circus". 

Speaking to LTV she said that the "political circus" has little to do with with care for refugees and their fate or integration issues in Latvia, but it is rather wish of certain people to achieve their narrow political goals.

The ex-president said that 250 refugees is a small number for Latvia to admit.

"If we say that we are not able to ensure accommodation to such a small number of refugees and integrate them in our society, then Latvia would sign a certificate of poverty, discrediting itself morally," she said.

Vike-Freiberga also said that it is also a matter of Latvia's security. "Russia believes that it is their duty to help their nationals wherever they are if they feel threatened, even if it means military interference.

"If Latvia declares that it is not able to integrate other people in their country, we are too weak and inable, then it is the white flag saying that somebody has to come and arrange things here," said the ex-president.

In accordance with a decision taken by EU justice and interior ministers, as many as 54,760 refugees will be admitted in EU member states. Latvia agreed to take in 250 of the number.

Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics warned that refusal to help countries with the burden of hundreds of thousands of refugees would have negative repurcussions.

"The absolute majority of EU Member States have declared their readiness to participate in receiving refugees, so if Latvia says it is not ready to cooperate in the field of migration, it can not expect support or financial resources from the other EU Member States on important issues such as condemnation of Russia's actions in Ukraine, the fight against propaganda and so on."

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