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Prague to push for safe countries list, visa policy reform in EU

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Prague, Oct 5 (CTK) – The Czech Republic will promote the creation of a European list of safe countries of origin and a visa policy reform and keep rejecting a permanent refugee redistribution mechanism, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said after the government discussed the issue Monday.

European interior ministers will talk about the migration crisis in Luxembourg on October 8.

Chovanec said the Czech position remains unchanged before the Thursday meeting. “We have been saying the same things for months,” he told journalists.

He said the Czech Republic will be supporting measures leading to the protection of the borders and to the building of hotspots.

Chovanec said the interior ministers of the four Visegrad Group (V4) countries will meet shortly before the EU negotiations.

He said more countries are opposed to the permanent redistribution mechanism than in the case of the mandatory refugee quotas.

Chovanec said he expected all the V4 countries to have a negative stance on the mechanism, but he recalled that Poland had finally decided to support the quotas in September.

The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania who were against the quotas were outvoted then.

Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky wrote on Twitter that the Czech Republic will help Hungary protect its outer border of the Schengen area. There is no time to hesitate anymore, he indicated.

Chovanec said the V4 interior ministers will talk about the possible help to Hungary to protect its border on Thursday.

He said previously that Hungary asked for help from the Czech police officers and soldiers. Czech soldiers and policemen can be deployed in Hungary in two weeks and more than 100 of them are to be sent to Hungary, he added.

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