Prague, Sept 11 (CTK) – The Czech Republic is getting into isolation in the European Union due to its rejection of the quotas for the redistribution of refugees, Justice Minister Robert Pelikan (ANO), the only government member supporting the quotas, told daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) Friday.

“When I read foreign press and talk to my European colleagues, I have the feeling that we are getting into a big isolation. The situation has changed and we should react to it,” Pelikan said.

The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia are the only EU member countries that oppose the refugee quotas, the paper writes.

Pelikan called on the government to support the mandatory quotas proposed by the European Commission, but all the other ministers voted for the rejection of the quotas.

Pelikan believes that inflexibility of the Czech foreign policy may be the reason.

“It seems to me that many people who did not show it in the vote have some doubts and do not feel comfortable in the position that we are currently defending,” he said about the Czech cabinet’s negative stance on the quotas.

ANO leader Andrej Babis calls for the closing of the Schengen external borders, and Pelikan said his position is not very different from this.

Pelikan said he, too, would like the EU external border to be under control. “An accommodating approach inside the EU must be connected with the control of the border and the spontaneous and illegal migration streams, which are actually dangerous for the refugees, should be replaced by a totally organised migration,” he said.

Czech President Milos Zeman said the refugees were not invited to the country and should leave. Zeman said EC President Jean-Claude Juncker’s proposal for the redistribution of 160,000 refugees across Europe was nonsense. A recent opinion poll showed that 71 percent of Czechs supported Zeman’s views of migration.

Pelikan said Zeman’s statements were no surprise for him.

He indicated that the public opinion can be shaped and should not be decisive for politicians.

Pelikan said people will be xenophobic if politicians use a xenophobic tone as xenophobia is nothing but fear of the unknown. “However, if we appeal on their compassion and solidarity, which is something everybody can feel, the people will show solidarity,” he said.

He said people in Germany feel euphoria that they are able to help.

Pelikan said his visit to a refugee facility in Vysni Lhoty was a sad experience. The immigrants were locked up in the facility for many days and they don’t know what is going to happen, he added.

The 35-year-old Pelikan said his more accommodating approach to refugees may be connected with the fact that he is more cosmopolitan than the older generation.

He said he travelled over Iran, Morocco and India. “I was in some more exotic foreign countries and nobody ever treated me badly there and so it seems that I lost the fear that many people have,” he told HN.

Pelikan said he considers the migrants an opportunity to occupy the vacant job positions. “Europe including the Czech Republic has a lack of workforce thanks to the boom. I can see no reason why those who want to work should not be accepted,” he said.

Pelikan said it seems pointless to make big difference between refugees fleeing war and economic migrants.

“If somebody is ready to undertake a journey during which they repeatedly risk their lives, they deserve our attention because they prove that the situation in their home countries is desperate. Is it really so important to distinguish whether the situation is desperate because of shooting or because there is nothing to eat?” Pelikan told the paper.