Prague, Aug 2 (CTK) – No one has invited refugees to the Czech Republic, but once they are here, they should respect the rules of this country or leave, President Milos Zeman said in an interview with the Blesk.cz server yesterday.
“If you do not like it, just go away,” he called on refugees.
“We can help these people best on their territory,” he added.
Zeman’s message was mainly aimed at illegal refugees from the Middle East and Africa.
He said an inflow of Ukrainian immigrants can also be expected. “Unlike the Islamic ones, they have a much a better ability to assimilate themselves,” he added.
“Someone may consider it appealing to the worst instincts, but this is the same stance that Hungarians share when they are building a fence against Serbia, and Americans who have built a fence on its border with Mexico,” Zeman recalled.
He hinted at the words by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka who criticised Zeman on Tuesday for appealing to the lowest instincts and being instrumental in spreading hatred of refugees.
Zeman is of the view that migrants should be helped in their own countries.
Zeman at the same time appreciated the police effort face to face with the movement of refugees on Czech territory and he also supported the intention to reinforce security measures in this respect.
He also said the military would be able to send some 1500 soldiers to the border, referring to the words by chief of staff Josef Becvar at their joint meeting.
The Czech military has about 21,000 soldiers now and further 2,000 should be recruited this year.
However, the General Staff pointed out that if soldiers helped the police protect the state border, it would affect som of their activities, for instance military exercises, General Staff spokesman Jan Sulc said.
In mid-June the Czech police tightened checks over the current wave of refugees from Asia and Africa to Europe. The numbers of detained illegals migrants, mainly Syrians, followed by Iraqis and Afghanis, have been rising since then. Most of them get to the Czech Republic from Greece via Hungary and Austria and they say their target country is Germany.
Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said the government might discuss the tightening of border checks on August 20.
Zeman said the regimes “that provoked this by their silly actions” were responsible for the refugee wave.
It is not only the United States, but also a number of EU member states, he said. “Why should we get the worst of it?” he asked.
Zeman also supported the protection of the EU external border and the activity of the U.N. “blue helmet” units that would be systematically destroying the terrorists’ training bases.
The Interior Ministry expects 5,000 to 7,000 illegal immigrants to come to the 10.5-million Czech Republic next year and some 3,500 were expected this year.
In mid-July, the government approved the opening of detention facilities for refugees in Vysni Lhoty, north Moravia, and Balkova, west Bohemia. It will also extend the capacity of the facility for foreigners in Bela pod Bezdezem, central Bohemia. The total number of beds in them should be raised to 1,200 by the years’s end.
According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), some 150,000 migrants have arrived in Europe this year, mainly in Italy and Greece, while about 1,900 died in the Mediterranean Sea on attempting to reach the European coast, which is twice more than during the same period last year.
Most of the refugees tried to escape war conflicts, violence, and suppression in their countries and a major part of them comes from Syria, the U.N. says.
At the end of June, the EU member states rejected the refugee quotas proposed by the European Commission (EC) under which some 40,000 immigrants staying in Italy and Greece were to be redistributed among the whole EU. The EU countries, however, agreed to accept the same numbers of asylum seekers on a voluntary basis in the next two years.
The Czech government agreed to accept 1,500 refugees (1,100 from Italy and Greece and 400 from refugee camps in the Middle East) by the end of 2017. This year, 400 migrants should arrive in the Czech Republic, while in 2016 and 2017, it should be 700 and 400, respectively.