Hitting back at Brussels’ attack on the nation’s refusal to take “refugees”, the Czech Republic has said the European Union (EU) must secure the continent’s borders before demanding nations welcome quotas of what could be an effectively endless influx of people from the third world.
The Czech Secretary for EU Affairs Aleš Chmelař told EURACTIV that the scheme, under which Brussels assigns shares of migrants presently stuck in Greece and Italy to nations in the bloc, offers no solution to illegal immigration.
He told the pro-EU website: “The mechanism cannot effectively solve the crisis and it creates further security problems and disproportionate risk distribution, while we are not in control of the overall volume of risks and costs.”
Prague argues that the discussion about relocation — spreading newcomers across the bloc, ostensibly in order to ease pressure on nations that are on the frontline of Europe’s crisis — deflects attention from real solutions, such as migration deals with third countries and support for coast and border guards.
“These measures have led to an actual reduction of migration flows while it turned out that the relocation scheme has not helped either Italy or Greece.
“On the contrary, especially Italy now demands a European solution which would stop the inflow of new migrants,” Chmelař told EURACTIV.
According to the Czech minister, the EU must seal the continent’s borders before any effective relocation system can be put in place.
“Only then will we be able to solve the situation of people who have already arrived to the EU – by integrating those eligible for asylum and returning those who are not,” he said.
The European Commission launched infringement procedures against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland in June over their refusal to relocate a Brussels-imposed share of migrants who have arrived across the Mediterranean in boats.
Prague withdrew from the scheme having taken just a dozen illegal migrants from the quota, citing security issues and the “dysfunctionality of the whole system.”
Earlier in the year, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec announced that the Czech Republic would rather face sanctions than be forced to take migrants, citing security concerns over the fact asylum seekers set to be forced upon Czech taxpayers were proving incapable even of staying put in Italy and Greece whilst security checks were processed.