Friday, 22 September 2017

HN: EU court is wrong, quotas are no solution to migrant wave

ČTK |
8 September 2017

Prague, Sept 7 (CTK) - The EU court verdict, which dismissed the Hungarian and Slovak lawsuits against the redistribution quotas on Wednesday, wrongly declares that the system helped cope with the impact of a massive migrant wave in Greece and Italy, Milan Slezak writes in daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) on Thursday.

Despite this mistake, the European Court of Justice verdict has to be respected, he says.

Not only Italians and Greeks oppose the view that the quota system helped them cope with the migrant wave. The redistribution of migrants across Europe has slackened. The quotas clearly cannot be the main tool to deal with the issue - they may merely function as a small part of the solution, Slezak writes.

The task of the Luxembourg court was to decide whether the quota system, including the process of its passage, is legitimate, and whether it is binding also for the EU countries that openly reject it (Hungary, Slovakia) or indirectly dodge it (Czech Republic). The EU judges decided that the quota system is in force, although it does not seem to be an effective mechanism according to the Czechs, Slezak writes.

What strategy should the Czech Republic apply now? he says.

The unwillingness of some EU countries to participate in the redistribution of migrants is not the only reason why the system is not working well. Another reason is that the number of real refugees, who would reach Europe and have the right to be granted asylum, is lower than the number set by the quotas, Slezak writes.

The process, which would verify whether the candidates are refugees, is very long and it must not be carried out with too much haste. After a series of terrorist attacks in European cities, in which the perpetrators were Muslims living in the respective countries but also refugees, one must keep in mind the security threats, Slezak says.

Moreover, it is hard to force people to remain in a country in which they do not want to stay because they long for their German or Swedish dream. A big part of the Iraqi Christian families who resettled in the Czech Republic considered it only a transit state from the very beginning, he writes.

The complex situation does not concern refugees but rather migrants - and in their case the quota system is a failure. A different solution needs to be sought, a comprehensive one on which all the EU countries would reach agreement. But how to react to the latest verdict of the EU court? Slezak asks.

Seventy years ago, the Jews accepted the plan of the division of Palestine because they guessed that the other side would say "No" and look like the spoiler, while they would seem to be open and they would achieve their goals anyway. Their plan was a success, he writes.

Similarly, the Czech Republic may declare that it will meet its commitments related to the quota system - and it should have done this a long ago. Other EU countries would appreciate the Czech position and the several hundreds of refugees would hardly stay in the Czech territory, Slezak writes.

However, the campaign before the Czech general election is culminating and none of the parties wants to irritate the voters, he indicates.

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