Immigrant crisis sparks some rifts within Czech political parties
While the immigrant crisis has opened up a wide rift between the Czech Republic and other Central European states on one side and the traditional EU agenda setters in Western Europe, France and Germany on the other, differences within some Czech parties about the crisis and the possible solutions have also emerged.
But there have been signs that some of the standpoints are not so clear cut or black and white within some of the leading parties. Deputy chairwoman of the opposition TOP 09 party Helena Langšádlová was fulsome in her praise of prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka and the interior and foreign ministries that are spearheading the anti-quota stand.
TOP 09 party leader and former foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg has, however, come out for the Czech Republic to take its lead from Germany’s initial welcome to immigrants. He suggested in one recent interview that Czechs should offer to take 80,000 immigrants, far more than the Brussels quota earmarked for the country.
But there are other Czech politicians who also feel that the immigrant debate in the Czech Republic and in Brussels has become too fixed on the quotas and what is essentially a numbers game and that has crowded out the search for solutions which might help heal the European rift over immigration.
One of the ANO party’s leading foreign affairs experts and currently a member of the European Parliament is Pavel Telička. He shared the platform with Karel Schwarzenberg at the Forum 2000 event and had this to say afterwards about the standoff over immigration between EU states.
Some of Telička’s suggestions are for meaningful help to EU countries bearing the brunt of the immigration crisis, asylum facilities based outside the EU, a United Nations fund for immigrants and a type of green card system developed for economic immigrants. It’s still to be seen if his efforts can influence the wider debate.