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Czech PM rejects EU funds to enforce migration policy

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Prague/Brussels, March 9 (CTK) – Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka dismissed resolutely the possibility to use European funds as a “stick” on the EU countries that have a different view of the migrant policy.

In doing so, Sobotka has reacted to Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern’s proposal that the EU member states that keep refusing to accept refugees should be punished by cutting the EU subsidies granted to them.

“This is being constantly suggested. It is not for the first time that similar views can be heard from Austria or another European country,” Sobotka said.

“The reaction must be clear-cut: it is impossible to link European funds and the migrant policy,” Sobotka said on departure for an EU summit.

Along with Central and Eastern European countries, the Czech Republic has been reluctant to join the programme accepting some 120,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece.

From its quota of 2691 persons, the Czech Republic has only accepted 12.

Last week, the European Commission mentioned the possibility to start a procedure that may in theory end up at the EU court over the lax approach of some countries.

Sobotka said the funds were “an instrument of Europe’s growth.”

Both the citizens and companies of other countries are their beneficiaries, he added.

Sobotka spoke of Austrian and German drivers using the sections of the Czech railway network that was being constructed.

“These are European investments, they should help the whole of Europe,” he added.

The EU summit will deal with the cooperation with the African countries through which a number of migrants, especially via Libya, are heading for Italy.

“We should also cooperate with the countries to which we give development and other aid in the sphere of return policy,” Sobotka said.

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