In an address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York on
Tuesday, the Czech president, Miloš Zeman, told the gathered world leaders
that the world community was still hesitant to fully engage in the war
Mr. Zeman said the United Nations required a strong agency that would be capable of also employing military force to combat what he called “terrorist anti-civilisation”.
The Czech head of state said some terrorists were active under cover of mass migration, a trend that he also said was causing a brain drain from undeveloped African states.
A strict new foreigners’ law went into effect in August of this year despite protests from human rights organizations, NGOs working with migrants and the Czech Chamber of Commerce who all argue that it is extremely unfriendly to foreigners from non-EU member states. Now a Czech senator has decided to challenge the law in the Constitutional Court on the argument that it violates the country’s international commitments as well as its own constitution.
The Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan is home to some 80,000 refugees. Even with international aid pouring in, living conditions in the camp are extremely harsh. Last year the Czech government sent 40 million crowns to Jordan to finance housing units for some 2,000 refugees. Aid money earmarked this year is being used for the camps electrification. And Jordan is one of the countries targeted by the Czech government’s humanitarian medical aid program MEDEVAC, thanks to which around a thousand patients will be operated on this year. I spoke to Jordanian
The German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, made his first official to
Prague on Tuesday. After being welcomed at Prague Castle with full military
honours by Miloš Zeman, Mr. Steinmeier and his Czech counterpart discussed
a range of issues, including refugees.
Mr. Zeman reiterated his opposition to the Czech Republic being forced to take in migrants by the European Union, while Mr. Steinmeier said it was important that the European Court’s ruling on the matter be respected.
In what was a brief meeting, the two heads of state also spoke about business cooperation between their two states, transport infrastructure and the UK’s planned exit from the European Union
Interior Minister Milan Chovanec has rejected criticism from Brussels that
the Czech Republic had failed to meet its EU obligations by refusing to
take in the migrants allotted to it under the mandatory quota
In a letter to the EU commissioner for migration, minister Chovanec said the Czech Republic was helping in other ways and was one of the most active countries in doing so.
He noted that since 2015 the Czech Republic had sent 68 experts to the so called hotspots to help with the registration of refugees, over 5,000 Czech police officers have helped protect the borders of Hungary, Serbia, Slovenia and other states and the Czech Republic has sent 640 million crowns in aid to Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon to help deal with the migrant crisis.
The Czech Republic and Italy are preparing a joint project to help migrants
from Ivory Coast, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka told journalists after
meeting his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni on Thursday.
The Czech Republic is to contribute with roughly one million euros to the project, helping to improve the living conditions of the people who are returned from other countries to Ivory Coast.
The Czech Republic has been against the redistribution of refugees from the very beginning and has only accepted 12 of the 2,000 it had been designated by the EU.
President Miloš Zeman says it would be better for the Czech Republic not
to receive subsidies from the European Union than to be forced by the EU to
accept refugees, the website Parlamentní listy reported on Wednesday.
Speaking to locals in the town of Český Těšín in the east of the country, Mr. Zeman said that following the European Court’s rejection of a complaint against migrant quotas from Slovakia and Hungary the Czech Republic would be forced to accept several thousand Muslim migrants under threat of a reduction in subsidies.
The president said, however, that Czechs should not give in to threats. If it comes to the worst, it is always better to surrender EU grants than allow in migrants, he said.
Czech humanitarian aid has played a key role in helping Syrian refugees in
Jordan, lessening the motivation for them to continue on to Europe, the
Czech ambassador to Jordan Petr Hladík has said. In an interview for the
Czech News Agency, he added that Czech aid had also led to better
conditions for Czech firms exporting to Jordan; in 2016, Czech exports to
the country rose by 62 percent year-on-year.
In total, Czech humanitarian aid to Jordan last year amounted to 75 million crowns – 40 million of which of which went to the second-largest refugee camp in Jordan, Azrak. The funds went towards improving living quarters and capacity at the camp.