(dpa) - The current head of the European Union's council of interior ministers gave a cold response Friday to German proposals to target Iraqi Christian refugees for immigration.
"In general, I believe we must accept refugees and give asylum to everybody, without preconditions of religion or if anybody is from another race," Slovenian Interior Minister Dragutin Mate said.
"That's a basic precept - I'm afraid that it will be very hard to work in that way," he said.
On Sunday, German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble spoke out in favour of taking in a large contingent of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians who have fled to refugee camps in Syrian and Jordan.
But the idea seemed unlikely to gain support from EU ministers at a meeting in Luxembourg on Friday.
Luxembourg Integration Minister Nicolas Schmit reacted without enthusiasm to the proposal, saying that it would not be possible to be "selective."
However, EU states should show "solidarity" on the broader issue of Iraqi refugees, he said. Non-governmental organizations including Amnesty International have accused most EU member states of not doing enough to help Iraqi refugees.
Ahead of the meeting, Amnesty's general secretary, Irene Khan, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that Germany should take in other Iraqi refugees as well, not just Christian ones.
The EU's interior ministers are to discuss the issue on Friday.