Wednesday, 16 August 2017

No EU country meets refugee quotas, Czech minister says

ČTK |
8 June 2017

Prague, June 7 (CTK) - Practically no European Union member country has relocated the required number of refugees within the quota system, Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec told CTK today, adding that about 20,000 refugees have been resettled within the system that planned to relocate 160,000 refugees.

"When the project ends in September, it seems to me that the European Commission should make its general evaluation and in fact declare that all the countries failed to meet their commitments," he said.

On Tuesday, the Czech government decided that it would not accept any further asylum seekers from Greece and Italy within the quota system.

Next week, the European Commission is to say whether it is going to launch proceedings against the member states that do not resettle asylum seekers from Italy and Greece within the quota system or against the states that relocated only a few asylum seekers.

Chovanec said the Czech Republic should strongly defend itself in court if it has to pay fines.

He said it seemed absurd that countries that resettled at least 1 percent of the planned quota would be considered successful.

If sanctions were imposed on the Czech Republic, the country should reconsider its aid in form of police and finances sent to countries affected by the migrant crisis, Chovanec said.

The Czech Republic has resettled 12 migrants within the system, while the planned number was 2,600.

Chovanec said the Czech authorities might start checking asylum seekers from Greece and Italy who might be resettled, but the security checks would not be completed by September.

The Czech government repeatedly said it considers the quota system a failure.

Chovanec said he believes the EU is not well prepared for the possible repeating of the strong migrant wave from 2014-15. "There is a slight progress, but the migrant wave would end in more or less the same way," he said.

He said the EU has been blackmailed by Turkey that blocked the route to Greece for refugees based on a deal made last year.

kva/dr/rtj

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