When Latvia last month decided to accept 250 of the tens of thousands of refugees seeking shelter in Europe, hundreds of protesters including elderly people and families with children rallied outside Parliament with placards warning that the foreigners would bring doom upon the Baltic country. A smattering of slogans spoke darkly of a threat to “white nations.”
A similar demonstration featuring anti-Muslim slogans was held in neighboring Estonia against plans to receive about 150 refugees from the Middle East and Africa this year.
While Eastern Europe’s new European Union member states are being asked to absorb the fewest, they are putting up the fiercest resistance to plans to spread the refugees more evenly across the 28-nation bloc. Even mainstream political leaders in these countries have described refugees and migrants as welfare opportunists, terrorists and carriers of disease.
Hundreds of thousands of people fled from Poland, Czechoslovakia and other Eastern Bloc nations to escape communist dictatorships following World War II
The Baltic countries, as well as Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, have all rejected mandatory refugee quotas, often with the argument that they don't want their relatively homogenous societies to become multicultural.
On Friday, the Hungarian, Polish, Slovak and Czech foreign ministers reiterated they won’t accept any EU quotas in a meeting with German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier.