The President of the Czech Republic has urged Europe to reject illegal economic migrants, warning that mass migration to the West will only drain their homelands of talent and consign them to “permanent backwardness”.
President Miloš Zeman, an elder statesman who opposed the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia which crushed the Prague Spring uprising against the old Communist regime in 1968 and participated in the Velvet Revolution which finally brought it down in 1989, said there was “a dividing line between the Visegrád Group and the rest of the European Union”, with the former firmly opposed to mass immigration and the EU’s policy of the forcibly redistributing migrants throughout its territory.
He made the comments in a speech to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe — and intergovernmental forum which predates the better known European Union, and includes many countries outside that bloc’s quasi-federal jurisdiction.
“The Visegrád Group is strictly against illegal economic migration, for many reasons,” he told the assembly.
“As a reasonable solution, we must help migrants in their domestic countries. That means that from the national budgets of European countries it is necessary to finance, for instance, electricity, schools, hospitals, water resources and so on – but, I repeat, in domestic countries of those migrants, not in European countries.”
President Zeman added that it was not only for Europe’s sake that he opposed illegal immigration, explaining that mass migration to the West harmed migrant countries as much as the receiving countries.
“There is a brain drain. If young, healthy men leave their homeland, they weaken its economy. The brain drain, which is sometimes a muscle drain, may condemn such countries to permanent backwardness, because they lose an important part of their workforce – perhaps even millions of people – which is also my argument against illegal and economic migration.”
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 27, 2015
Quizzed by one politician on what the Czech Republic intended to do about demonstrations against immigration in Prague — which she deemed “hate speech” — the president offered a robust response.
“There have been demonstrations in Prague both for and against migrants, although the demonstrations against migrants may be bigger.
“It is a little paradoxical, because on the territory of Czechia, including Prague, there are no migrants at all – from the Czech point of view, migrants are something like the Yeti or the wife of Columbo – but yes, we know that there are plenty of migrants in Austria, Germany, and so on, hence the demonstrations against migrants,” he explained.
“If you try to stop those demonstrations, you are not a democrat,” he said bluntly.
More of this to come in Europe soon 💪 https://t.co/cFjL0AK3Qo
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 28, 2017
President Zeman’s case against mass immigration appeared to draw on arguments previously advanced by anti-mass immigration campaigners in the United States, where groups like Numbers USA have long contended that accepting large numbers of migrants from poor countries only exacerbates their problems, and that they should be helped where they are.
It would not be the first time the Czech leader has looked across the Atlantic for inspiration, with his spokesman Jiří Ovčáček defending U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel restrictions from countries deemed to represent a security threat to U.S. citizens against European critics.
“Trump protects his country,” Ovčáček wrote in January 2017. “He’s concerned with the safety of his citizens. Exactly what EU elites do not do.”