The Czech Republic will continue opposing any redistribution of migrants and any EU policy that would introduce obligatory migrant quotas, Interior Minister Jan Hamáček and PM Andrej Babiš said, reacting to Berlin’s proposal to change the EU asylum policy.
In September, Germany and France came up with a proposal based on voluntary redistribution of migrants. However, only a few Western European countries were interested in accepting it.
“We strongly reject illegal migration. We reject that smuggling organizations should decide who will live in Europe. We reject quotas,” said PM Babiš.
Unlike the previous system based on compulsory redistribution, this latest proposal from Berlin does not mention that each country should accept a certain number of refugees. However, some diplomats consider the new proposal to be just another version of the previous one opposed by the Visegrad Group countries. The Berlin proposal is, therefore, unacceptable to these countries as well.
“The Czech Republic will not support any reform of the migration system that would introduce mandatory quotas,” said Interior Minister Hamáček to reporters.
Berlin’s new proposal to EU member states is called an “incentive for reflection”. According to Germany, the current asylum system, known as the Dublin regulation, has to go through fundamental change with the European Asylum Support Office (EUAA) as the key player.
The German proposal states that the EUAA should assist countries situated at the EU external border with the initial registration of migrants. The registration process should last no more than a few weeks, says the incentive.
“Before entering the EU territory, the EUAA will determine which member state will be responsible for processing the asylum application, and consequently making a final decision on whether to grant asylum to the applicant,” states the four-page document.
According to Hamáček, the attitude of Visegrad Four towards the proposal is shared by other EU countries, too. “I would not give too much significance to the German proposal, it is not an official document,” said Hamáček. “The solution is to improve the protection of the external border of the European Union,” he added.
Since the peak of the migration crisis in 2015, EU countries have been trying in vain to agree on reforming the asylum system. Meanwhile, the Greek and Italian authorities deal with thousands of pending applications of migrants waiting at their borders.
The Czech Republic maintains that the best way to offer help to migrants is to aid them in their country of origin.
“We prove our solidarity in various ways, for example, through development and humanitarian aid,” said Zuzana Štíchová, director of the press department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
According to her, the debate about the proposal will be probably added to the agenda of the V4 Prague meeting on Dec. 2.
Next week, EU interior ministers will discuss the new German proposal at a meeting in Brussels.
As Germany is set to take over the Council of the European Union presidency in the second half of next year, it is, therefore, trying to find a solution to ongoing migration problem that Europe faces.