Czech right-wing party urges temporary shelter to Ukrainian refugees and then a quick return home

Tomio Okamura leader of Czech far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy speaks during a rally organized by League leader Matteo Salvini, with leaders of other European nationalist parties, ahead of the May 23-26 European Parliamentary elections, in Milan, Italy, Saturday, May 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
By Karolina Klaskova
2 Min Read

Czechia should only seek to help Ukrainian refugees on a temporary basis and only for as long as Czechs are not negatively affected, the conservative-populist Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) opposition has said.

According to the party, Czech citizens have legitimate concerns about maintaining the health and social system, as well as ensuring that an influx of immigration does not result in a reduction of wages for Czech workers.

“We support helping refugees from Ukraine for the absolutely necessary time. The quality of life of our citizens must not be reduced, though,” Radim Fiala of the SPD stated.

“We believe that helping refugees from Ukraine is right, but only adequately and for the necessary time. After the end of the conflict in Ukraine, they should go back to building their home country and be the economic engine,” Fiala added.

The SPD, led by Tomio Okamura, is known for its strong opposition to immigration. Czechs, on the whole, are one of the European nations most opposed to immigration, although the circumstances in Ukraine appear to have led to a temporary change in policy.

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According to Alena Schillerová from the ANO movement, her party has supported the government’s steps to help Ukraine from the beginning but insists: “The citizens of the Czech Republic must not be forgotten.”

Yet, the ANO is also expressing skepticism about the long-term implication of a mass amount of Ukrainians taking up residence in Czechia.

“I am convinced that the government should take balanced measures, that it should not prioritize refugees and Ukraine over our citizens,” the chairman of the ANO movement and former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš stated.

“They really go through difficult times and, unfortunately, the situation will continue to be difficult,” he added.

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