Saturday, 21 October 2017

MPs reject idea of permanent refugee relocation quotas

ČTK |
2 October 2015

Prague, Oct 1 (CTK) - The Czech Chamber of Deputies rejected yesterday the idea of a permanent mechanism of refugee relocation among the EU states and backed measures aimed to improve the protection of the EU's outer border, the readmission of migrants without the right to asylum and crackdowns on people smugglers.
At the close of a seven-hour debate on the migration crisis, the lawmakers also rejected proposals by a part of the opposition that the Czech Republic file a lawsuit over the previously approved quotas for the relocation of dozens of thousands of refugees at the European Court of Justice.
The resolution, which a deputy from the conservative opposition TOP 09 party prepared in cooperation with the groups of deputies from the government Social Democrats (CSSD), ANO and Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), was supported by 91 of the 141 deputies present.
Twenty deputies voted against it.
The opposition Communists (KSCM), Civic Democrats (ODS) and Dawn movement complained that no one had discussed the draft resolution with them.
ODS deputies' group head Zbynek Stanjura labelled the draft "Brussels-like" and "saying nothing."
The ODS, on the other hand, supported the government plan of state border protection.
On the ODS's proposal, the Chamber of Deputies asked the government to specify the procedure of checking the refugees who are to be accepted by the Czech Republic.
The Chamber of Deputies also asked the government for information about the humanitarian aid the Czech Republic has provided to refugee camps outside Europe so far.
It asked Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (CSSD) to promote, on the EU level, an increase in the sum that is spent on this aid from the EU budget, so that refugees prefer staying outside the EU instead of flowing to Europe.
A part of the opposition criticised the cabinet for failing to challenge the September decision on the mandatory quotas for a one-off redistribution of refugees.
ODS chairman Petr Fiala said the Czech government, which was opposed to the quotas, played "a great European comedy" in this connection, but it backpedalled on the issue as soon as it came to the "political crunch."
Sobotka said Prague is still convinced that the quotas will solve nothing but it respects the decision.
He repeated that Prague will not follow the example of Slovakia that wants to challenge the approved one-off quotas at the European Court of Justice.
The Czech Republic should not take any steps that could weaken its position, Sobotka added.

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