EU's East Can't Treat West Like `ATMs,' Slovak President Says

The European Union’s eastern members need to reach out to their western counterparts in the bloc on the refugee crisis and not only treat them like cash machines, Slovak President Andrej Kiska said.

“Unfortunately some people look at old European member states like ATMs,” Kiska said on Friday after a two-day meeting with the presidents of the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary and Poland in the western Hungarian resort of Balatonfured. “When we need help, we ask for it. But when our partners ask for our help, then we don’t so much as make a gesture toward them.”

Western EU countries including Germany are pressuring eastern members to be more open to accepting refugees amid the biggest wave of migrants since World War II. Several eastern EU nations opposed the approval of mandatory quotas for the distribution of refugees within the bloc.

Hungary went as far as to build a fence on its Serb border to repel migrants. Polish, Czech and Slovak soldiers plan to join the Hungarian army in patrolling the country’s southern border with Croatia, currently the main crossing for migrants coming via the Balkans to the passport-free Schengen area.

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