Slovakia has announced it will only accept Christian migrants when it takes in Syrian refugees under an EU relocation plan.
Interior Ministry spokesman Ivan Metik said the Eastern European nation will accept 200 Christian migrants from camps in Turkey, Italy and Greece, as Muslim migrants would not integrate as easily into Slovakia's predominantly Christian population.
Metik told the BBC: “We could take 800 Muslims, but we don’t have any mosques in Slovakia, so how can Muslims be integrated if they are not going to like it here?”
He added that the country wanted to assist Europe during this wave of migration but that Slovakia was a “transit country” where people did not want to relocate to permanently.
In July, EU member states agreed to take in 32,000 asylum seekers arriving in to Italy and Greece during the next two years; a figure significantly less than the 40,000 target.
The scheme was made voluntary after some nations declined to meet set quotas.
At least 264,500 refugees and migrants have crossed the Mediterranean so far this year, according to the United Nations refugee office, predominantly from Syria, a Sunni Muslim majority country, Afghanistan and sub-Saharan Africa.
Most have arrived on the shores of Greece and Italy before travelling onto other areas.
Recent data from the UN Refugee Office shows that as of 14 August, 158,456 refugees and migrants had arrived in Greece by sea, while 1,716 had entered by land through Turkey.
“The pace of arrivals has been steadily increasing in recent weeks,” said William Spindle, a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, adding that more migrants had arrived in Greece during July than during the whole of last year.
EU Commission spokeswoman Annika Breithard emphasised that EU states were prohibited from any form of discrimination, according to the BBC.Reuse content