Chairman of the Constitutional Committee of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) Toomas Kivimägi said at the Interparliamentary Conference on Migration Challenges in Paris, France, today that Estonia did not support mandatory quotas for refugees but expected greater support from the European Union in compensating the costs relating to war refugees from Ukraine.
Kivimägi pointed out in his speech that, from 24 February, Estonia had received more than 38,000 war refugees from Ukraine. “This is 2.9 per cent of our population. To better understand the proportions, this would equal to France giving shelter to 1.9 million refugees,” he said at the Conference held in the French Senate. He added that the Riigikogu was preparing to adopt an additional budget at the end of May, where nearly 250 million euro were planned for the expenses relating to refugees.
“Despite the big challenge we are facing, Estonia still does not support mandatory quotas for refugees in the EU. We find that it is better for refugees, if possible, to stay in their neighbouring countries and not to flee thousands of kilometres from their homeland. Most of the refugees are planning to return to Ukraine after the end of the war,” said Kivimägi, who thinks it is humane to let refugees choose for themselves the country where to stay in this tragic time.
He also said that Estonia expected the European Union to take a bigger role in compensating the costs relating to refugees to those member states that have accepted more refugees. In his opinion, the role of the European Union in strengthening its external border should also grow. “It is not fair to leave the Member States on their own with these costs. We have to protect our borders well, and we have to do it together,” Kivimägi said at the Conference.
Deputy Chair of the Constitutional Committee Eduard Odinets attends the Interparliamentary Conference on Migration Challenges together with Kivimägi.