According to the UNHCR, 799 refugees resided in Slovakia in December 2014. In 2014 Slovakia received 230 first-time asylum applications, which was a decrease from previous years (290 in 2013; 550 in 2012, data from Eurostat). In the second quarter of 2015, Slovakia had the lowest rate of first-time asylum applications relative to the population size in Europe. The main citizenship groups applying for asylum in Slovakia in 2014 were Afghanistan (95), Syria (40), Ukraine and Vietnam (25 each).
The Government’s approach
During the summit in Brussels in April 2015, Slovakian Minister of European and Foreign Affairs expressed solidarity with Member States experiencing the refugee inflow. However, the government’s resistance towards refugees is often reported with the Slovakian prime minister, Robert Fico’s words: with the country’s acceptance of only Christian refugees explained with the absence of mosques. The Visegrad Group countries’ prime ministers’ meeting in Prague on 4th September 2015 voiced opposition towards the quota system. The Slovakian government voted against mandatory refugees relocation quotas claiming, after the vote, that the country would not accept them.
Refugees in host communities
In June 2015, a protest took place in Bratislava. A demonstration of a few thousands of Neo-Nazis was against islamisation of Europe, immigrants and the EU. Police had to intervene. At the same time, a demonstration in support of immigrants and against hate took place in Bratislava.
In response to the Visegrad Group meeting at the beginning of September, the president of Slovakia appealed to refrain from hate speech.
Slovakian intellectuals, artists and politicians were among signatories from new EU member countries under solidarity appeal in response to the migrant crisis. The text of the letter is available on the Stefan Batory Foundation website.
Slovakian Denník N was among signatories of the European newspaper editors’ open call to urge European action in response to refugee crisis.
In Slovakia, only 4 per cent of the population reported immigration as a main concern facing the country in spring 2015.