One of the causes driving the Brexit movement — the desire in Britain to quit the European Union — is fear over immigration and refugees. Backers of the Leave campaign, whose hopes may come to fruition at a referendum later this week, have argued that the continent’s existing policy allowing freedom of movement and proposals to accommodate an influx of refugees from the Middle East and elsewhere are simply unacceptable.
Ironically, that’s an argument for which the leader of the country slated to assume the presidency of the European Council, the executive body heading up the European Union, would feel sympathy.
The job of the presidency rotates every six months between E.U. member states. Next week, Slovakia will replace the Netherlands. And its prime minister, Robert Fico, has been one of the more outspoken European leaders on the subject of Muslim immigration.
“Islam has no place in Slovakia,” Fico told reporters in May. He warned that “migrants change the character of our country,” and declared he wouldn’t allow such change to affect his nation.