WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — When asked on Thursday whether Slovakia should accept more refugees and allocate more funding, Stefanec said, "From my point of view, yes. Yes, we should do more."
"Currently, we say that we don’t accept any refugees officially, which is not sustainable, and I don’t like that position," Stefanec stated. "I think we are capable enough to accept some refugees, and we should go for this position."
Stefanec stressed that Slovakia should have a plan for accepting more refugees to show it would like to help solve the migrant crisis in Europe.
"This is not the problem of one country in Europe. This is the European problem. If we are the part of the European Union, we should not only take benefit but we should share responsibility," he added. "I think we have to help to solve this European issue, and this is the point not only for Slovakia but for all central eastern European countries."
"Slovakia is now the leading country in the European Union. We chair the presidency of the European Council. Therefore, we have even more responsibility to find consensus and to help to solve this problem," Stefanec explained. "I do believe we will try to help to solve this problem also by accepting refugees."
Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said earlier in October that the EU quota system on the resettlement of thousands of refugees has failed in a political sense.
Slovakia Hosts Some Refugees Seeking Asylum in Austria
"So far, there is some help for Austria. So, there are some refugees who are in Austrian asylum process, but they are located in Slovakia," Stefanec said. "I talk to many of them… Slovakia is trying to help just Austria in this case because there is a lack of capacity in Austria."
Stefanec noted, however, that Austria has more generous social system for refugees.
"If they ask for asylum in Austria, they can get much more money than in Slovakia. And that’s the case in Germany. They go mostly to Germany."
Europe has suffered a massive refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants fleeing crisis-torn countries in the Middle East and North Africa to escape violence and poverty.
The EU border agency Frontex detected over 1.83 million illegal border crossings in 2015, in sharp contrast to 283,000 in 2014. The European Union adopted a quota system last September, which suggests relocating 160,000 asylum seekers across the 28-nation bloc.