Friday, 18 October 2019

PM Babiš may meet Italian counterpart in late August

24 July 2018

Prague, July 23 (CTK) - A meeting on migration between Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) and his Italian counterpart Giuseppe Conte, to which he invited Babis after Prague refused to help Italy with migrants, may be held in late August, Babis told reporters on Monday.

Babis also plans to debate the access to migration with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Estonian PM Juri Ratas in Salzburg, Austria, on Friday, Babis said.

In mid-July, Babis rejected the Italian request for help with 450 migrants who were rescued from a fisherman's boat in the Mediterranean Sea.

Conte then invited him to Rome in an open letter to talk about tackling the illegal migration problems. Babis originally proposed July 30 for their meeting, but Conte had another programme on that day.

"Now we are talking about a date in late August," Babis said.

Babis justified the Czech refusal to accept any migrants from Italy by saying Europe should rather send out a signal that illegal migration was inadmissible and that the acceptance of more refugees would only further worsen the problem.

Some EU countries, on the contrary, met the Italian request.

Babis said he would meet the British, Austrian and Estonian heads of government for bilateral talk in Salzburg on Friday. He added that he would primarily like to talk about solutions to migration with them.

The British media have reported that May wants to persuade the heads of government of the the EU countries about a compromise plan of Britain's departure from the EU at their meeting to strike the final deal on Brexit by October.

The coalition movement Live Brno (Zit Brno) at the Brno Town Hall proposed last week that Brno, south Moravia, the second largest town in the Czech Republic, accept several dozen migrants from Italy if the Czech and Italian governments agreed on this.

Along with Babis, some politicians from the coalition in Brno also criticised the movement's proposal calling it a "dramatic gesture."

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