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Minister Warns Latvia May Be Kicked Out of EU Over Lack of Refugee Policy

© REUTERS / Ints KalninsA police officer looks on as people attend a protest against European Union plans to host 250 refugees in Latvia over the next 2 years, in Riga, Latvia, August 4, 2015
A police officer looks on as people attend a protest against European Union plans to host 250 refugees in Latvia over the next 2 years, in Riga, Latvia, August 4, 2015 - Sputnik International
Latvian Internal Affairs Minister Rihards Kozlovskis announced that he will not be attending an emergency meeting of the EU's security ministers in Luxemburg on Monday over the continent's burgeoning refugee crisis, saying his country's government has not been able to come to a consolidated position on taking in additional migrants, Delfi reports.

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Kozlovskis had earlier warned that disagreements among the country's ruling coalition government could make Latvia the only country in the EU not to accept refugees. 

Interior ministry advisor Dajga Holma expressed Monday that it is critical for the issue to be "resolved on the internal political level" as soon as possible. Latvian media has reported that Kozlovskis and members of the Alliance party will discuss the issue with President Raimonds Vejonis, who had stated earlier that Latvia "cannot distance itself from the humanitarian crisis faced by our partners." 

On Friday, local media reported that the country's ruling coalition, including the center-right Unity Party, the nationalist National Alliance, and the centrist Union of Greens and Farmers, had been unable to come to an agreement on accepting additional migrants, with the nationalists and greens dissenting from Unity's position on accepting 526 persons in addition to the estimated 50 people the country has already taken, and the 250 Riga had pledged to take last month.

The disagreement, which local experts have suggested could lead to a constitutional crisis, comes on the heels of proposals by European Commission Head Jean-Claude Juncker, who stated recently that the EU would have to accept and distribute an additional 160,000 refugees across its member nations.

A Belgian nav.y sailor passes life vests to migrants sitting in a rubber boat as they approach the Belgian Navy Vessel Godetia during a search and rescue mission in the Mediterranean Eea off the Libyan coasts, Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - Sputnik International
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According to Latvian news site MixNews.lv, the Union of Greens and Farmers holds to their position that the state would exhaust its resources by accepting even the 250 refugees which the country has already pledged to take in over the next two years. The National Alliance, meanwhile, argues that Latvia should be granted special status in the EU on account for its historical legacy, with Party Co-Chair Gajdis Berzins insisting that Latvia strengthen Europe's external borders and combat refugee smuggling.

In an interview for Latvian television, Kozlovskis warned that refusing migrants outright was not something any EU member country, including Latvia, could afford to do. The minister noted that Latvia would feel the consequences of such a decision immediately, noting that "this includes financial issues, as well as security aspects." Kozlovskis ultimately warned that the migrant issue "is a matter of our future. It is not a political issue and not a matter of the coalition. It is a question of national importance –on where we are today and whether we will be able to remain in Europe," he warned.

Unity Party President Solvita Aboltina echoed Kozlovskis's words in comments made earlier, noting that the only alternative to Latvia accepting the migrants would be to leave the EU.

Latvia's National Security Council is now set to meet later this week to further discuss the refugee crisis issue.

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