The arrival of the new year following the end of celebrations is a period of hope but also apprehension over possible worsening conditions and the unexpected. A poll commissioned by Czech Radio conducted by the Median Agency suggests that while a minority of Czechs are cautiously optimistic, many worry about having enough money, about migration and about the possibility of a terrorist attack.
Europe’s leading anti-immigration parties gathered in Prague at the weekend for a conference aimed at coordinating their policies and rallying anti-EU, anti-immigration forces on the continent. On their way into the heavily fortified hotel on the outskirts of Prague they were booed by hundreds of demonstrators chanting “shame” and “NO to fascism, populism and xenophobia”.
Several hundred people demonstrated in Prague against a meeting of
anti-immigrant European parties on Saturday.
They protested outside the Prague hotel where the meeting was convened and were later scheduled to converge later in the centre of the city.
The meeting, featuring France’s Marine Le Pen and the Netherland’s Geert Wilders, was held at the invitation of the leader of the Czech Freedom and Direct Democracy Party,
Tomio Okamura. The Czech leader, whose party gained the third most seats in parliament in October’s elections, said he was a convinced European but did not want to see the continent constructed on an administrative framework out of Brussels.
Le Pen’s said the direction Europe was now heading in was against the tide of history. Wilders said he hoped the Czech Republic would continue to close its doors to what he described as mass immigration.
Police said around 300 people took part in a demonstration against the meeting on Friday.
The newly-elected Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš, went to the EU summit in Brussels with two priorities uppermost in mind: defending the country’s anti-migrant stance and gaining more allies in the block. However neither his arguments nor a financial pledge of 220 million euros in aid of the migrant crisis helped him to avert the threat of legal action from Brussels.
The newly-appointed Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who is representing
the Czech Republic at a two-day EU summit in Brussels, has reaffirmed the
country’s negative stance to mandatory migrant quotas, highlighting its
strong engagement in helping to resolve the situation in the countries of
migrant origin. The Czech prime minister met with the heads of government
of the Visegrad Four states and with EC President Jean Claude Junker to
discuss the ECs decision to sue the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary over
their unwillingness to accept migrants.
The Visegrad Four announced at the summit that they will contribute 35 million euros to strengthen Libya’s borders and alleviate the plight of migrants in the country.
Just days ahead of a scheduled EU summit on migration, Prague has announced the launch of a Visegrad group project to strengthen Libyan border protection and improve the plight of refugees in the country. The Czech Republic, which now faces a lawsuit over its failure to take in refugees, is pushing the view that the crisis needs to be resolved outside of Europe.
Today a life peer in Britain’s House of Lords, Alfred Dubs was just six years old when he became one of over 660 Jewish children saved from Nazi-occupied Prague by Sir Nicholas Winton. The Labour politician last year made headlines for attaching an amendment to an immigration bill that offered unaccompanied refugee children safe passage to Britain, though the UK authorities later largely abandoned the scheme. When we spoke recently in London, I asked Lord Dubs – now 85 – about his own beginnings in the UK and attitudes to refugees today. But we
The countries of the Visegrad 4 – Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech
Republic, are set to launch a joint program to boost security on Libya’s
borders to try and quell the number of migrants trying to flee the country
as well as to try and improve the situation for them at home.
Former prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka expressed support for the project ahead of an EU summit which will be attended by his successor Andrej Babiš.
Czech financial daily Hospodářské noviny reported that 200 million crowns could be pledged by the Czech Republic towards security and aid. Money donated by the V4 would go to the EU Trust Fund for Africa.
So far, the Czech Republic has already provided funding worth 42.42 million crowns or 1.66 million euros.
The European Commission has announced it is suing the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary in the bloc’s top court for their refusal to take in asylum seekers in line with the Commission’s mandatory re-distribution mechanism. Prague says it will not change its stand and warns that a court case will only further undermine public trust in EU institutions.