Friday, 15 December 2017

Senate wants gov't to speed up work on border defence laws

ČTK |
3 December 2015

Prague, Dec 2 (CTK) - The Czech cabinet should speed up the drafting of laws enhancing the protection of the border and inhabitants against illegal migrants and it should promote the formation of an international coalition to fight terrorism and to maximally support forces fighting IS, the Senate said on Wednesday.

The Senate dismissed the demand that the government join the complaint about the EU refugee redistribution quotas that Slovakia filed with the European Court of Justice Wednesday.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) hailed this. He wrote to CTK that this would bring nothing good and that it would push the country into isolation.

Sobotka wrote that he considers the Senate´s call for a greater protection of the Schengen border support for the policy pursued by the government that, together with the Visegrad Group, has focused on it since the very beginning.

The Visegrad Group is also comprised of Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

The upper house of parliament debated the security measures introduced after the terrorist attacks in Paris in November for three hours.

Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (CSSD) said in the Senate that he has no information about an attack similar to that in Paris immediately threatening the Czech Republic.

He said the fact that Islamic State (IS) recently included the Czech Republic in the "coalition of devils" does not raise the terrorism threat.

Chovanec said the National Security Council (BRS) will on December 8 discuss proposals defining the powers of the secret services with the aim of facilitating the gathering of information.

He did not elaborate, but he said the proposals will be discussed as classified information.

Chovanec said a more effective struggle against terrorism does not require any legislative amendments for now.

According to the written information that Chovanec handed to the senators, major threats include possible attacks by isolated extremists inspired by the events abroad, radicalisation of a part of the majority society with the help of the extreme right and infiltration of terrorism in connection with the current migrant wave.

"It would be naive to believe that the Islamists will not abuse the migrant flow for planting their fighters here," Chovanec wrote.

He said the Czech Republic is still outside the major migrant stream. From January to November, 8149 illegal migrants were uncovered in the Czech Republic. Of them, 1985 were Syrians, 973 Ukrainians and 560 Afghanis. Only 122 Syrians have applied for asylum in the Czech Republic and some 130 people stay in detention facilities pending the solution of their cases.

If the neighbouring countries closed their borders, the Czech Republic could send both the military and police to the Czech-Austrian border within five hours.

Senate chairman Mian Stech (CSSD) said attention must focus on the causes of the migrant crisis, that is on an effective attack on Islamic State and elimination of its financing.

"If it is not financed, it will not have means to buy weapons, ammunition and other things. No one will give them to it, whether out of religious or ideological conviction," Stech said.

Senate deputy chairman Premysl Sobotka (opposition Civic Democrats, ODS) pushed into the Senate´s resolution the request for information on how illegal migrants will be returned to territories outside the EU and for the regular provision of information on measures taken against terrorists.

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