Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has said that in order to stem the flow of economic migrants into the EU, the border protection agency Frontex needs a clear mandate allowing its agents to operate “outside of Europe”. In a statement to the European Commission on Monday, Babiš also said that Frontex needs “more than just a few boats” to do its job and therefore must be better funded.
The number of Czechs who are unconditionally against the Czech Republic
taking in refugees has dropped by 11 percent, to 58 percent, according to a
poll conducted by the CVVM agency.
Eighty-two percent of Czechs consider refugees a potential threat to European security and 71 percent say they are a threat to global peace.
Thirty-five percent of Czechs would agree to the Czech Republic taking in refugees until it is safe for them to return to their homeland. In the autumn of last year only 25 percent of Czechs expressed this view.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš on Monday sharply rejected the idea that the Czech Republic should pay some form of compensation for not accepting migrant quotas. In response to proposals floated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the weekend, Mr. Babiš said the Czech people and Czech firms themselves would decide who would live and work in this country.
There are lots of countries in the world that have been hesitant about letting refugees through their borders. The recently re-elected Czech president even ran his campaign partly on a non-immigrant agenda. Nevertheless, Prague is a hub in Europe for those looking for a better life including some refugees from countries suffering from war and poverty.
The Czech Republic is a step away from its first semi-communist government
since 1989 and the Civic Democrats will strive to offset its influence from
the opposition benches, party leader Petr Fiala said at the Civic
Democrats’ ideological conference in Libeznice, near Prague.
Party delegates met at the weekend to outline their strategy and select candidates for the Senate and local elections due to take place in the autumn.
Petr Fiala said the Czech Republic was experiencing a drawn-out political crisis and warned of the dangers of a cabinet that would have to rely on support from the Communist Party. He said it was vitally important to prevent extremists and populists getting the upper hand in the Senate, which must retain its role in the system of checks and balances.
Among the independent candidates the party is supporting in the Senate elections are diplomat Pavel Fischer and the rector of Masaryk University Mikuláš Bek.
The European Union needs a strong and viable asylum system, the Czech and
Finnish heads of government Andrej Babis and Juha Sipila agreed during
their talks in Helsinki on Monday.
The two officials said migration was an issue on which the EU badly needed to reach consensus and stressed that migrant quotas were obviously not the answer. The two heads of government said they also had a similar take on EU budget issues, post Brexit.
The Czech Prime Minister is also scheduled to attend the Czech-Finnish business forum and sign a memorandum on Czech accession to the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, which has been operating in Helsinki since April 2017.
Before his departure, Mr Babiš told journalists he would also like to visit a Finnish primary school and university to find inspiration for Czech school reform.
A few weeks ago the Czech Republic joined “Refugees Welcome International ” a platform that was founded in November 2014 to connect refugees with locals who are willing to share their living space and on a day-to-day basis help refugees feel at home in their new country. I spoke to Tomáš Jungwirth, one of the organizers of the project in the Czech Republic, about how it will work and what he hopes to achieve in a country that is not perceived as being overly friendly to migrants.
An anti-corruption watchdog has accused Prague city council leaders of rushing into a multi-billion crown joint venture connected with a new metro line without public discussion and explanations of what is involved. Transparency International warns that in the wake of previous big budget city scandals, it could another case of act in haste and regret at leisure.
Though long based in Wales, where he teaches at the Cardiff School of Law and Politics, Professor Jiří Přibáň is a regular commentator on politics in his native Czech Republic. Last week I discussed the rise of populism, the chances of a vote on leaving the EU and the outlook for Czech liberals with the sociologist and theorist of law and constitutionalism. But I first asked Jiří Přibáň how Andrej Babiš’s ANO had, in little over five years, succeeded in becoming the dominant force in Czech politics.