Monday, 24 September 2018

Czechs with V4 allies to launch Libyan border protection project

ČTK |
11 December 2017

Prague, Dec 8 (CTK) - The Czech Republic with its partners in the Visegrad Four (V4) group (Hungary, Poland, Slovakia) will launch a joint project to strengthen the Libyan border protection and improve the situation of refugees in Libya, the Government Office said in a press release on Friday.

The project is to help prevent migrant crises, outgoing Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka wrote.

According to daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) out on Thursday, the Czech new PM-designate Andrej Babis is planning to promise about 200 million crowns in support of Libya at the EU summit next week.

Sobotka wrote in the press release that the V4's joint project is to be one of a number of Czech activities to prevent migrant crises.

"The Czech government has for a long time called for the V4 to launch a joint project. The V4's Hungarian presidency has successfully organised this initiative and I am glad that we have reached consensus [on it] after a few weeks of negotiations," Sobotka wrote.

"The implementation of the project is in the interest of the Czech Republic," Sobotka added.

The V4's financial contributions will go to the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, which was established two years ago in support of African countries of migrant origin and transit, the Government Office wrote.

The Czech Republic has contributed 1.66 million euros to the fund so far, being one of the biggest contributors in Central and East Europe.

Prague has been long opposed to the EU's compulsory migrant redistribution quotas as a solution to the problem of migration.

Babis wants to negotiate with the EC about its withdrawal of the lawsuit it has decided to file against Prague, Budapest and Warsaw over their refusal to join the quota system.

Earlier this year, the Czech government approved 25 million crowns worth of a contribution to the Libyan coast guards.

Last week, the Czech Republic launched a project together with Italy, which focuses on improving the situation of people in the Ivory Coast. The Czech contribution of 26 million crowns is designated to improve healthcare in this country and facilitate refugees' return, the Government Office wrote.

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