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PM: Prague to ask what happened with money for Greece

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Prague, Oct 14 (CTK) – The Czech Republic will ask what happened with the money that Greece received for the protection of the Schengen outer border, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka told the lower house European affairs committee yesterday, before his departure for a European Council (EC) meeting.
Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said the finances may not have been spent efficiently.
“I can promise you that the Czech Republic will be interested in what happened with the money earmarked to the member countries for the protection of the Schengen external border, since the financial means were probably not used in a transparent and efficient way,” Sobotka said answering a question about Greece.
He also said he was convinced that the current European Commission (EC), too, was responsible for the current migrant crisis. It failed to react quickly and flexibly, he added.
“Nevertheless, the previous EC bears the primary responsibility as it had information about the development in Syria in the past years, he noted.
Committee chairman Ondrej Benesik (junior government Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) commented on Greece’s responsibility for the current migrant crisis as well. He asked whether Greece could not be stripped of some rights and privileges connected with the Schengen membership.
“If someone fails to meet commitments, we must draw consequences of it,” he said.
The lower house committee yesterday also debated a permanent relocation mechanism for the redistribution of refugees across the EU, which Prague has long been rejecting.
“A permanent relocation mechanism will not be in the agenda of the EC talks,” said Sobotka who left for the meeting in Brussels directly from the Chamber of Deputies.
The EC will mainly focus on the causes of the migrant crisis, he added.
Mainly the opposition MPs, Civic Democrat (ODS) chairman Petr Fiala and Dawn-National Coalition deputy group head Marek Cernoch, asked Sobotka about the government’s stance on the relocation mechanism and its seeking allies in its resistance to it.
Sobotka said the Czech Republic is an active country in looking for a solution to the migrant crisis and he supported an increase in humanitarian and asylum aid.
He said he expected mainly the strengthening of the outer border protection, cooperation with third countries, primarily Turkey, and an efficient readmission policy to be debated at a meeting in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.

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