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PM: Prague will defend its decision on quotas

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Prague, June 13 (CTK) – The Czech Republic will consistently defend its decision not to participate in the system of quotas for the redistribution of migrants across the European Union, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said in a press release on Tuesday.

He reacted to the European Commission’s decision to open legal cases against Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic on Tuesday for not taking in asylum seekers under the quotas approved in September 2015.

The practice has proved that the quota system is failing, Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said.

The Czech Republic has taken only 12 refugees from Greece, although it ought to accept about 2,600 people, according to the quotas.

The Czech government announced at the beginning of last week that it would not accept any further migrants from Italy and Greece based on the quotas, arguing with the worsened security situation. It said the system was not working well.

The legal proceedings launched by the EC may end up in court that may impose a fine on the respective member states.

“Despite our warning, the European Commission underestimated the explosive effect hidden in such a sensitive matter as a directive decision-making on relocating refugees to individual member states,” Sobotka said in his press release.

The failure of the system is apparent from the fact that just a faction of the planned tens of thousands of refugees has been resettled so far. Moreover, a number of them did not stay in the target countries, but left for the economically more advanced EU member states, Sobotka said.

Since the begining, the Czech Republic has pushed for other solutions, such as strengthening the protection of the EU outer border and aid to refugees in the areas as close to their original home as possible, and it has warned of the problems the quotas will cause, he added.

“Our main priority was to push through constructive measures that would lead to a permanent solution to the mass illegal migration and guarantee safety to the European countries’ citizens,” he said.

The Czech Republic has been helping the most afflicted countries both financially and materially and it has sent police officers to Hungary, Macedonia and Slovenia, Sobotka added.

He said the quotas worked rather as incentives for illegal migration to Europe.

“The Czech Republic does not agree with the system also in view of the worsened security situation in Europe. It will not participate in the quotas since they are not functioning. We are prepared to consistently defend our stance in the EU and in the respective judicial institutions,” he pointed out.

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