Czech prime minister says Paris attacks are wake-up call for Europe
Life in the Czech metropolis came to a standstill at mid-day on Monday as Czechs joined millions of Europeans in observing a minute of silence for the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris. In addition to widespread condemnation of the monstrous attacks against innocent civilians Czech officials have stressed the need for stronger coordinated action on the part of the EU.
“If we do not secure Schengen’s outer borders then individual member states will have to act of their own accord. At a meeting of the National Security Council we discussed measures to reinforce border controls on the border with Austria and Slovakia, but we should not have to do that if security on the outer Schengen border was reliable.”
The Czech prime minister also expressed disappointment over the response of European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker to the crisis and his view that the attacks in Paris should not change the attitude of individual EU member states to migrants. Mr. Sobotka said it was inevitable that such a change would take place and the accent should be on greater security.
Although the Czech Republic is not going as far as Poland, which has already said it is not prepared to accept the quota of migrants earmarked for it, Mr. Sobotka said Prague would insist on its right to screen migrants due to settle in the country and apply the right of veto in the event of doubt.
The prime minister said a speedy agreement with Turkey was essential in controlling the migrant flow, as was a joint European force of border and coast guards to which the Czech Republic has repeatedly offered to contribute. Mr. Sobotka further expressed the hope that the attacks in Paris would put stronger pressure on Russia and the United States to find a solution to the conflict in Syria.