Monday, 19 February 2018

Zeman, Drahoš quarrel about migration, arms, churches

ČTK |
24 January 2018

Prague, Jan 23 (CTK) - Czech President Milos Zeman did not sufficiently stand up against the migrant quotas in the EU, his rival candidate in the presidential election's runoff, academic Jiri Drahos, said in their duel on Prima TV on Tuesday.

Zeman, for his part, reminded Drahos of his words about the Czech Republic's capability to accept part of migrants. In this connection, Zeman spoke about illegal immigrants, which Drahos rejected.

"I have been refusing the (EU refugee) quotas since the very beginning," Drahos said, adding that the migration problem must be tackled by the EU border protection and aid to potential migrants in their countries of origin.

"What did you do as the president against the Czech Republic being forced to accept the quotas?" Drahos asked Zeman.

Commenting on Zeman's statement that he would not sign the EU proposal for the redistribution of asylum seekers, Drahos noted that Zeman forgot this was not in his power either, since it was no international treaty.

Zeman pointed out that he had spoken about migration in the U.N. and at his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Unlike Drahos, Zeman supports the introduction of the constitutional right to posses arms, which, he said, would enable to circumvent the EU directive restricting firearms possession. However, the Senate rejected such a legislation, arguing that it would not change the EU directive observance duty.

Drahos said he can see no reason for this and that he considered the current arms possession rules sufficient.

Drahos also criticised a possible taxation of the financial compensation for churches within their property restitution, planned by the government of Andrej Babis (ANO).

Drahos said that subsequently, the parliament might impose taxes on other things if the budget were short of money. Zeman noted that Drahos was a chemist and not an economist by profession and that the parliament had the right to return to the church restitution.

According to the restitution law from 2012, churches will be returned land and real estate, confiscated by the Communist regime, worth 75 billion, confiscated from them by the communists, and given 59 billion crowns plus inflation in financial compensation for unreturned property during the following 30 years. Simultaneously, the state is gradually ceasing financing churches.

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