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PM: Merkel is likely to come to Prague, date not set yet

ČTK |
16 December 2015

Prague, Dec 15 (CTK) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel is likely to arrive in Prague and a suitable date of her visit is being sought, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka told the news server of the tabloid daily Blesk on Tuesday.

Sobotka would like to talk with Merkel about the migrant crisis and their different views of permanent refugee quotas as well as about bilateral trade, industrial modernisation, relations between Czechs and Germans and the maintaining of the Schengen area, he told Blesk.cz.

He said he appreciated that Merkel has recently started changing some of her opinions, namely her view of the protection of the outer Schengen border.

Sobotka said the Czech Republic has been a transit country for refugees and only about 120 of them are currently staying in the Czech detention centres, while Germany has already registered approximately one million refugees.

As Germany seems not to have the capacity for another massive wage of refugees, the migrant waves need to be regulated, Sobotka said. Calming down the situation in Syria and other unstable countries from which refugees have been streaming to Europe is another challenge, he told Blesk.cz.

Neither the government nor the security forces have any information about a terrorist threat in the country, Sobotka said, adding that the Czech Republic is one of the safest countries in the world.

If President Milos Zeman has information about a terrorist threat, he should give it to the intelligence or the police, Sobotka said in reaction to Zeman´s recent claim that a terrorist attack would occur in the country sooner or later.

There is no point in creating the feeling of tension and panic, which is what the radical Islamists want, he said.

Sobotka said rallies with people calling for the burning of mosques did not scare him.

Blesk.cz writes that one such demonstration was organised outside Sobotka´s flat on the outskirts of Prague and that the protesters voiced their resentment towards Sobotka.

Sobotka said Zeman must keep in mind that he, too, can be criticised if he makes serious mistakes. Such a mistake was that Zeman appeared on one stage together with the leader of the Bloc Against Islam movement, Martin Konvicka, during a rally on November 17, Sobotka told the server.

He said the presidential office is traditionally connected with great authority and respect in the Czech Republic. "But this respect cannot be transferred to people who promote hateful and extreme views," Sobotka said.

Despite some different opinions, the president and the government were able to communicate in the past two years and they reached agreement in the naming of ambassadors and the vetting of bills, Sobotka said.

He said there were only a few conflicts between Zeman and the government.

Zeman recently said he regretted that he did not have the power to dismiss Sobotka from the post of the head of the cabinet.

Sobotka told Blesk.cz that politics did not amount to making friends with others but to trying to push through the programme and ideas that politicians presented in the election campaign.

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