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Estonia doubts if it can house African refugees under proposed EU quota scheme

May 13, 2015, 19:42 UTC+3 TALLINN
The proposed quotas would be determined using a number of factors, including a country's population, economic indicators and the number of asylum seekers previously accepted
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Downtown Tallinn, Estonia

Downtown Tallinn, Estonia

© ITAR-TASS/Sergey Bobylev

TALLINN, May 13. /TASS/. The European Commission’s controversial proposal all EU member countries should take in refugees under a quota scheme has drawn a skeptical reaction from the Interior Minister of Estonia, Hanno Pevkur. In particular, Pevkur doubts his country’s ability to participate in the EU’s collective effort, should the initiative be given a go-ahead.

"The available infrastructures as they are, Estonia will be unable to house any extra asylum-seekers," Pevkur said in a radio interview on Wednesday.

The proposed quotas would be determined using a number of factors, including a country's population, economic indicators and the number of asylum seekers previously accepted.

"We have to show more solidarity," commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a video message on Wednesday in Brussels. "We will put in place a system of quotas that makes it easier, in an equitable and mutually supportive way, to allocate refugees who ask for and are entitled to asylum."

European leaders will discuss the proposals at a summit at the end of June. The initiative is to be agreed by all EU states.

The Estonian interior minister remarked that his country did not reject the idea of hosting forced migrants in principle, but for that it would need financial investment.

"If the corresponding decisions are made, the issue will be taken to the level of parliament and government," Pevkur said, adding that there was no opportunity of creating the required infrastructures at the expense of the national budget.

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