Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Prime Minister Sobotka rejects latest refugee quotas

5 May 2016

Prague, May 4 (CTK) - The Czech Republic rejects the mandatory quotas for the redistribution of refugees proposed by the European Commission again as they divide Europe and make no sense, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) told journalists on Wednesday.

Sobotka reacted to the proposed reform of the EU asylum system published by the European Commission on Wednesday.

It revives the mechanism of refugee redistribution among EU countries according to quotas.

Earlier on Wednesday, the quotas were also rejected by foreign ministers of the Visegrad Four (V4), which is comprised of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

Sobotka said it was a good thing that the EC has proposed that the asylum applications be handled by the first countries the refugees enter.

"Each country is responsible for the protection of its border and for the implementation of the asylum proceedings," Sobotka said.

"The existing asylum system of the EU and the Schengen area are based on these basic rules. This is why the principles must be observed and enforced," he added in a press release.

However, he strongly rejected the use of a mandatory system for the redistribution of migrants.

The idea of mandatory quotas is wrong and it has several times divided Europe, Sobotka said.

"The Czech Republic has been stressing for long that the mandatory quotas do not make sense and do not contribute to the solution to the refugee crisis. The past year showed we were right," he added.

The talks on a reform of the EU asylum system should continue. The Czech Republic is against the option of paying for the exemption from the duty to accept migrants compulsorily, Sobotka said.

According to the EC proposal, the valid rule under which the asylum application is proceeded by the first EU country the applicant enters is completed with a crisis mechanism of redistribution to other EU countries. It would be automatically applied if the number of applicants were too high in a member country. The countries which would not want to abide by the new rule could pay 250,000 euros per rejected applicant.

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