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Zeman: Czechs should reject refugee quotas at cost of EU funds

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Novy Jicin, North Moravia, Sept 6 (CTK) – The Czech Republic must not kowtow before the European Union and, if unavoidable, it should give up the EU subsidies rather than have the binding refugee quotas imposed on it, President Milos Zeman said in reaction to Wednesday’s EU court verdict related to the quotas.

The European Court of Justice on Wednesday dismissed the lawsuits filed by Hungary and Slovakia against the EU’s quotas for the redistribution of asylum seekers across Europe.

“Threatening to take the subsidies from us, the EU will force us to accept several thousands of Muslim immigrants in our territory in the first stage,” Zeman said.

He said previously the Muslim tradition is incompatible with the local culture.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said the fresh decision of the EU court changes nothing about the fact that the quotas do not work well.

Sobotka said the Czech position on the quotas remains unchanged. “We still disagree,” he said.

Zeman said the Czech government has earmarked 600 million crowns for the relocation of these immigrants.

Slovakia and Hungary wanted the EU court to cancel the EU’s majority decision from 2015 to introduce binding quotas for the distribution of 120,000 immigrants across the EU. The two countries said it had procedural flaws, did not lean on a corresponding legal basis and was ineffective and not inevitable for tackling the migrant crisis.

Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (CSSD) said the Czech Republic has never challenged the decision-making that produced the quotas, but it has been saying the quotas do not work well.

He said Prague is in a dispute with the EU because it wants to prove that the quota mechanism is ineffective and needs to be revised. He said there is no point in countries formally meeting the duty and writing down numbers of refugees they would accept, although everybody knows that the set numbers would not be reached.

Zaoralek also said the cooperation with Greece and Italy that planned to send refugees to the Czech Republic was very bad.

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