Czech Republic President Miloš Zeman, much like his fellow Visegrad Four group allies, is tough on mass migration and has announced that he wants to see all illegal economic migrants deported.
Stating that it is not enough to crack down on illegal migration, President Zeman told the Financial Times that he wants to deport any illegal migrants who came to Europe during the migrant crisis for economic reasons rather than legitimately fleeing oppression in their home countries, reports Bild.
“Of course, I recognise the cruelty of the civil war in Syria, Iraq and so on, but we are not talking about these people, but of economic migrants,” Mr. Zeman said.
Economic migrants are said to make up the bulk of the wave of people, primarily young men, who have come to Europe over the last two years from North Africa and the Middle East.
The president’s policies on mass migration are closely aligned with those of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. The Czech leader recently showed support for the prime minister’s recommendation to the European Union (EU) that migrants should not be allowed to progress through mainland Europe, but have their asylum claims processed elsewhere.
The Hungarian made the comments late last month, stating that he would like to see a “refugee city” on the Libyan coast. This, Mr. Orbán suggested, would allow the EU to conduct thorough background checks and root out Islamic State militants posing as asylum seekers.
Mr. Zeman also proposed that Greece could pay off its debt to the rest of the EU by allowing the bloc to use some of its islands to house migrants. “Greece has a lot of uninhabited islands and a large external debt. So if you create hotspots on Greek islands it would be a way to pay off the debt,” he said.
The Czech leader said he is not against all forms of migration stating: “I am not against immigrants in my country, who come from Ukraine, Vietnam, Russia, Belarus, Serbia and so on.” The problem, Mr. Zeman notes, is mass Muslim migration.
“I think that this culture is totally incompatible. Just one example: The behavior of Islamic migrants towards women. This is very different from our culture,” he said.
The referendum victory of fellow Visegrad Four leader Viktor Orbán will likely only embolden other leaders within the group to continue to resist the migrant policies of Western European leaders like German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
President Zeman has even discussed enlarging the Visegrad group when he invited Austrian presidential candidate for the Freedom Party (FPÖ) Norbert Hofer, both expressing interest in Austria becoming a member.