Monday, 11 December 2017

ANO leader calls for parliamentary debate on immigrant quotas

ČTK |
4 August 2016

Prague, Aug 3 (CTK) - Czech Finance Minister and ANO chairman Andrej Babis wants an extraordinary lower house session to discuss the acceptance of migrants, he has written on Twitter and added that he would disrespect the EU's refugee quotas even at the cost of sanctions.
On Tuesday, a parliamentary debate on the acceptance of migrants based on the EU's relocation quotas was proposed by President Milos Zeman via his spokesman.
The Government Office, for its part, pointed to Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka's previous statements on Prague's approach to migration. Sobotka is on holiday now.
Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) previously said politicians should not use people's fears of the migrant crisis to score political points. He said it is crucial to ensure the protection of the EU's outer border and open the debate on the establishment of a common European military, he said.
Babis wrote it is necessary to react to people's needs and apprehensions and ensure their safety, "even at the cost of sanctions."
On Expres.cz server, he wrote he does not want any single refugee in the Czech Republic, not even temporarily.
"I have stopped believing in successful integration and multiculturalism," he wrote.
In Facebook comments he wrote while on holiday in France, Babis said "we must do our utmost to reject migrants, including the quotas in which we were outvoted. I want to reject the quotas even at the cost of sanctions."
"Europe must close its external Schengen border as soon as possible. I have been talking about it exactly for one year. We can and should build a fence there and not along the Czech border. Immediately," he added, cited by daily Pravo yesterday.
The EU interior ministers approved the quotas for the redistribution of tens of thousands of refugees across the EU last September. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia voted against it, but the decision is binding on all member states. Budapest and Bratislava filed a legal complaint against it with the European Court of Justice.
"Yesterday, it is too late to file a lawsuit. On the other hand, I say that the EC's decisions remain disrespected by the member countries now and then," Babis wrote for Expres.cz.
The Czech Republic should behave similarly in the case of the quotas, he said.
If sanctions were imposed on it, Babis suggests that Prague defend itself by filing a lawsuit.
"As far as the approach to migration is concerned, we should follow the example of Hungary and Slovakia," he wrote.
Zeman's spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said on Monday that Zeman disagrees with any acceptance of refugees as the Czech Republic cannot afford to risk the threat of terrorist attacks similar to those in France and Germany.
Zeman's stance was criticised by Guenther Oettinger, EU commissioner for digital economy and society, yesterday.
The Czech president weakens Europe by his statements, and he defames European legislation of which the refugee quotas are a part, Oettinger said.
Pravo writes, referring to analysts, it is clear that migration and security issues will dominate the autumn regional and Senate elections though the election campaign is not in full swing yet.
This is also why mainstream parties have already highlighted migration problems and the government ANO has done it very strongly, including Babis's comments on Facebook, Pravo says.
The senior government Social Democrats (CSSD), ANO's major rival in the upcoming polls, approach the migration issue differently. At a press conference before the summer holiday, the CSSD demanded an additional three billion crowns from Babis's ministry to raise the number of police and fight terrorism, Pravo says.

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