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European funds cannot be used as pressure tool, PM says

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Berlin, April 3 (CTK correspondent) – European funds cannot serve as a method of exerting pressure and be connected with the refugee quotas, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) told Czech journalists in Berlin yesterday.
He might discuss this issue with Martin Schulz, a Social Democrat (SPD) candidate for the German chancellor, later yesterday.
Schulz repeatedly pushed for cutting European subsidies for the countries that reject the EU refugee quotas and do not express sufficient solidarity.
“It is no secret that we have different opinions,” Sobotka said about Schulz.
“Our position is apparent. We do not agree with the European funds issue being connected with the asylum policy. Those are independent, separate matters that have nothing in common,” Sobotka said.
On the basis of the mandatory quotas for the redistribution of migrants across the EU as well as a voluntary commitment, the Czech Republic should accept 2691 refugees from Greece and Italy, the EU countries hit by the migrant crisis the most, by the end of this year. However, the country has admitted only few of them and it will probably not fulfil the duty.
“As far as the quotas, relocation and resettlement are concerned, we have been sceptical of this system since the beginning. We suppose that this simply cannot work. Mainly in the situation where refugees, relocated to particular countries do not stay in them and they are moving across the European Union,” Sobotka said, being asked how many refugees the Czech Republic will accept by the end of 2017 on the basis of the quotas.
Schulz recently said it was impossible that only a few European countries help tackle the migrant crisis. Those who demand solidarity in other areas, must show it in this case, too, he added. He considers cutting European funds a tool to make some EU countries show more solidarity.

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