Interior minister defends Prague on migrant quotas
The Czech Republic is resisting mounting pressure for it to take in more migrants in line with the EU’s redistribution mechanism. In a letter to the EU commissioner for migrants Dimitris Avramopulos, Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said the country was pulling its weight in other ways.
The Czech interior minister, Milan Chovanec, responded to the criticism in a letter addressed to EU Migrants Commissioner Dimitris Avramopulos in which he pointed out how active the country has been in helping to deal with the crisis in other ways right from the start.
“The Czech Republic is one of the most active countries in helping to deal with this crisis, we have sent out experts to migrant hotspots, thousands of our officers have helped patrol borders where needed and we have sent millions of crowns in aid to countries such as Jordan and Turkey. So if the commissioner sees fit to criticize us for not taking in migrants, he should also recognize our merit in helping in other ways. Otherwise it is merely bullying from Brussels.”
The Czech Republic maintains that the mechanism of mandatory migrant quotas does not work, saying that it had not been given a chance to conduct a proper security screening of the refugees allotted to it and could not admit unchecked persons for security reasons. It moreover points to the difficulties of keeping migrants in the Czech Republic when the vast majority of them want to settle in Western Europe. Prague has long defended the view that the migrant crisis should be resolved in the countries where it originated and that finances spent there go much further than finances spent in Europe. It has also been active in offering assistance in protecting the EU’s borders and sending experts to countries with large refugee camps.
The Czech Republic has taken in only around 12 refugees of the close to 2,700 allotted to it under the EC mechanism and minister Chovanec recently said no more would be admitted under this administration. However since there appears to be broad consensus on the migrant issue across the political spectrum, the chances of a radical turn-around after October’s general elections are highly unlikely.