Czech government backs commission’s border protection plans

Photo: CTK

The government led by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka backed a European Commission proposal on Monday to tighten security at the EU’s outer borders. The Czech Republic has been pushing for increased border protection for the better part of a year.

Photo: CTK
The Czech government has pushed for an increase in border security almost from the outset of the ongoing migrant crisis. On Monday, the cabinet agreed its ‘framework position’ expressing support for the EC plans, which include establishing a new European border patrol service and coast guard. In its plans, unveiled last month, the EC outlined the forming of a rapid reserve pool of border guards, able to “draw on at least 1,500 experts that could be deployed in under three days”.

In its plans, it also outlined the founding of a risk and assessment centre, capable of “monitoring migratory flows towards and within the European Union” to gauge weaker areas and potential dangers. The country’s State Secretary for European Affairs Tomáš Prouza told Czech Radio that, as far as the Czech government was concerned, there were no sticking points.

“What is important is not only that the government agreed with the establishment of a European border and coast guard but also with a far greater emphasis on the return of illegal migrants. I think that is far more important than whether we are able to hermetically seal or not seal the border.”

Tomáš Prouza,  photo: archive of Czech Government
The state secretary was reacting to an opinion expressed in Právo by Deputy Prime Minister Andrej Babiš that the Schengen zone borders be closed and suggesting that the Czech Republic take no more migrants at all. But Mr Prouza said similar remarks were not voiced at Monday’s cabinet meeting. Instead, he emphasized the focus was on the EC plan – which has not yet been approved by the European Parliament – by enacted quickly as possible. The State Secretary for European Affairs Tomáš Prouza again:

“I think all of us understand that we have only a few months until spring or the beginning of summer for the EU’s outer borders to be reinforced. If we cannot limit the influx of migrants, we may see Germany close its borders as requested by [some on its political scene]. For now, though, Germany wants to keep internal borders open.”