Syrian children are the main victims of the ongoing war | Credit: Reuters
Syrian children are the main victims of the ongoing war | Credit: Reuters

With his announcement to take in several dozen orphaned Syrian children, Slovakian Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini is making a slight break from other central European countries who have refused refugees.

Slovakian Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini told Reuters that his country may accept several dozen Syrian orphans.

"We are politicians but when we look at the suffering of the Syrian orphans, currently being taken care of by another member state, I think we should be more humane," said Pellegrini.

Pellegrini was interested in taking in "ten twenty or thirty children" who are currently in a refugee camp in Greece. Pellegrini said his country was rich enough that it would be able to take care of them.

"Slovakia's economy, Slovakia's society, or Slovakia's culture can't be threatened by several dozen orphans who would be placed in our children's homes...they would learn our language and our culture," he said.

No change on relocation quotas

Pellegrini's decision is a slight change from other central European countries that have refused to take in refugees. Many nations in the region have not agreed to EU executive attempts for mandatory relocation quotas. Previous prime minister Robert Fico opposed the mandatory quotas.

"Our position on quotas does not change. We will continue to work on having solidarity expressed in different ways other than forcing (on us) migrants from other countries that don't want to be here anyway," Fico told Reuters in September 2017.

While there are not as many refugees in Slovakia as there are in other EU member states, there are some that are still in the country. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says it has provided integration counseling for more than 17,000 foreigners in the country since 2006. Slovakia also provided temporary shelter for hundreds of asylum seekers who were awaiting their decision in Austria in 2015, and granted asylum to 149 internally displaced persons from Iraq in January 2016.


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