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Rinkevics: Latvia has found itself in international isolation because of its refusal to receive refugees

Edgars Rinkevics

Latvia has found itself in international isolation because of its refusal to receive refugees.

BNS quotes Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics as saying that two of the three coalition parties, VL-TB/LNNK and the Union of Greens and Farmers, have said that they will not receive any single immigrant in addition to the 250 ones received earlier.

Rinkevics notes that the EU may still decide to send refugees to Latvia irrespective of its objections. “And not only will we be forced to give shelter to those people but we will also be denied support on certain issues because of our disobedience,” the Latvian foreign minister says.

He advises the objectors to keep in mind that Latvia has both short- and mid-term interests in the EU. “Today we have found ourselves in international isolation. So, we must reconsider our attitude and realize that the number of the refugees we are supposed to receive is not dangerous for us,” Rinkevics says.

He quotes President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker as saying that a similar scheme will be applied in case of a crisis in Ukraine. “We must know that we are not an isolated island and cannot ignore the reality,” Rinkevics says.

The EU urges Latvia to receive 776 refugees. Some experts warn that this is not all. According to Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma, on Sept 14 Latvian Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis will go to Brussels to inform the EU that the ruling coalition has failed to come to terms of this issue.

Kozlovskis says that some countries are laying preconditions but nobody in the EU is refusing to receive refugees. “If we refuse to receive refugees today, we will face financial and security-related problems tomorrow. Here the question is where we are and if we will stay in Europe,” Kozlovskis says.

On the other hand, he says that Latvia does not have enough premises to receive so many refugees. “We will look for some abandoned houses and will try to repair them,” Kozlovskis says.

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