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Vike-Freiberga concerned refugee issue could become a

  • 2015-08-04
  • BNS/TBT Staff/RIGA

Speaking to Latvian television on August 4, 2015, the country’s former president, Vaira Vike-Freiberga revealed she is concerned the issue of accepting North African refugees into Latvia could become part of a "political circus."

Vike-Freiberga said the "political circus" does not have any relation with care for refugees or their integration into Latvian society. 

Instead, she believes the issue could be used by a number of politicians to score personal political goals. 

The ex-president added the quota of 250 refugees is too small a number for Latvia to accept.

"If we say we are not properly able to accommodate such a small number of refugees and integrate them into our society, Latvia would sign a certificate of poverty, and morally discredit itself."

Vike-Freiberga also said accepting refugees is a matter of Latvia's national security. 

"Russia believes it is its duty to help their nationals wherever they are if they feel threatened, even if it means military interference," she continued. 

"If Latvia declares it is not able to integrate others people in their country, we will display ourselves as weak.

"We will essentially be waving a white flag, which says somebody has to come and arrange things for us."

In accordance with a decision taken by justice and interior ministers from the European Union, as many as 54,760 refugees from North Africa will be admitted to EU member states. 

Since the decision on the refugees’ resettlement was taken earlier this year, Latvia has continually stuck to the position it will take in 250 refugees. 

Negotiations on the resettlement in EU member states are expected to continue until the end of this year.

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