The free movement of migrants across the European Union is being challenged by the Czech Republic. Tomas Haisman, director of the Interior Ministry asylum and migration policy section, told journalists in Prague today his country wants a say in the choice of the refugees that are to be moved there from Italy and Greece.
Last week, the Czech government agreed to accept 1,500 refugees by 2017. Haisman conceded that a specific total had yet to be decided beyond that but called for negotiations to begin immediately. According to CTK news service, he said:
“It does not make sense to discuss anything before there is an agreement on the relocation numbers and an agreement on the relocation conditions.
“We are ready to work on it as of September, but we will not elaborate before there are finished agreements now lying on a table in Brussels.”
Along with the definition of exact figures, the Czech Republic wants to have clear rules of the acceptance process. Haisman was speaking ahead of a planned meeting of EU interior ministers scheduled for Brussels on July 20.
“We have a single interest. We only want to relocate people from the countries in which we will be able to send our own people,” Haisman added, before making clear EU members should supervise the execution of the asylum and immigration procedures in Italy and Greece.
“If this is not linked, the Czech Republic will be against the relocation,” Haisman said.
Italy and Greece are currently bearing the brunt of the flood of refugees crossing the Mediterranean by boat from northern and sub-Saharan Africa.
This year has seen an unprecedented influx of migrants seeking a better life in Europe. In the first six months of 2015, 137,000 people crossed the Mediterranean Sea into Europe, compared to 75,000 in the same period last year, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
As Breitbart London has reported, not included in that total is the estimated 70,000 thought to have perished at sea in the attempt.
Under current rules called the Dublin regulation, migrants who enter in Greece or Italy are supposed to officially seek asylum there. But they often try to slip through those borders – a fact those countries are accused of turning a blind eye to – to file claims elsewhere.
The countries of Central Europe – Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and now the Czech Republic – have been some of the loudest critics of a scheme imposed on them to take in asylum seekers.
Today’s Czech push back against EU-mandated refugee movement may well be the first of many.
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