PM: Latvia cannot take and not give back

The Latvian government has to formulate its position about admitting an extra 526 refugees by the next EU summit of Interior Ministers held next week, and Latvia "cannot be the only country" that refuses to do so, Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma told Latvian Radio on Wednesday.

She said that the government will adopt its stance by voting, but the position has to be formulated by September 22 for the slated summit of EU Interior Ministers. The Saeima committee will also be deciding about admitting refugees.

The Prime Minister said that heads of EU states will have the final say, no matter what the Latvian stance, but having a position is important to show our attitude.

It is the attitude we show - whether we want only to take without giving back, said Straujuma.

"We cannot expect to sit at the table, to pick the sweetest food, asking that farmers have money for milk, that we have air patrols, while Italian taxpayers cover the costs," and we reject admitting refugees, saying that "that, too, rests on your taxpayers," Straujuma said. 

On Wednesday Straujuma will be discussing refugee matters with President Raimonds Vējonis.

The Latvian government agreed earlier to voluntarily accept 250 refugees, but, in line with the new EU refugee relocation scheme presented by Juncker on September 9, Latvia might have to admit additional 526 refugees.

The coalition is divided on this matter, while the Foreign Ministry has warned of 'dire consequences' if Latvia closes its door to refugees. 

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