“The redirection of refugees should not be decided at ministerial level by the Council of the European Union, but at a higher, head of government and state level; the European Council must make a unanimous decision”, the Interior Ministers of the Visegrád Group countries (Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic) called for in a joint declaration issued on Monday in Warsaw.

Following the meeting, Minister of Interior Sándor Pintér stressed: There is “no breakthrough” as yet in the European Union with relation to the migration crisis, but they are “taking note of the opinion of the V4 and are increasingly taking in account the fact that policies must change to match reality”. During the Hungarian presidency of the V4, which begins in July, “Budapest will be insisting on the principles that we have developed together”, he added.

With regard to the Polish presidency of the V4, which continues until the end of June, Mr. Pintér highlighted the fact that during the course of the presidency, the V4 had not agreed with the EU and “had made it clear that the existing treaties must be complied with above all else”.

Concerning the stipulations of the Schengen Agreement, according to which the external borders of the Schengen Area must be protected, he stressed: On the part of Hungary “we are not just talking about a legal standpoint, but also about practical realisation”. He referred to the protection of Hungary’s southern border, and thanked the other countries of the V4 for their assistance in this endeavour.

Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Błaszczak informed the press about the joint declaration adopted at the meeting. In the declaration, the Ministers call on their countries’ heads of government to as President of the European Council Donald Tusk to amend the decision-making practice regarding the distribution of refugees. “On an issue of such importance, which concerns the security of our countries, the decision cannot be made by a simple majority, decision must be made by consensus”, Mr. Błaszczak emphasised.

The Polish Interior Minister said the V4 had a united standpoint on the migration crisis. “The EU’s refugee distribution mechanism is inefficient and is giving rise to further waves of migration”, he stated.

In reaction to press reports concerning the fact that the European Union is preparing to launch infringement proceedings against countries that have so far failed to accept migrants within the framework of the mandatory quota as early as this week, Mr. Błaszczak said: the V4 “are aware of the fact that the EC has sunk to issuing various threats, but we are in solidarity with each other”. “We feel that the EC is wrong”, he declared, explaining that the sanctions that the Brussels body has been threatening to impose are unfounded.

Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec told reporters: if infringement proceedings are launched, which he thought would be absurd, then for the citizens of the Visegrád Group countries it will be “one more reason not to take EU politics seriously”. He pointed out that the V4 have been active in providing humanitarian aid and in protecting the EU’s external borders. He also objected to the fact that the Christian refugees whom the Czech Republic had previously taken in voluntarily were not being counted towards the quota.

Slovakian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák stressed that the V4 had “shown greater solidarity than ever before” during the current Polish presidency of the Group. As far as the refugee distribution mechanism goes, “time will show that the standpoint of the V4 is very important” within the EU, he stated.