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Babiš: EU not to outvote Czech Republic on migrant quotas again

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Prague, Dec 14 (CTK) – Czech PM Andrej Babis is convinced that the EU member states will not outvote the Czechs on migrant quotas again, as this could provoke other countries’ departure from the EU, he told journalists before leaving for the two-day EU summit in Brussels.

Babis earlier refused a permanent system of migrant redistribution between the member states as proposed in a planned reform of the EU asylum system.

“I think they realize that the decision on the quotas, which I consider to be pointless and not a solution to the illegal migration issue, has an overall negative impact on the European Union’s and the EC’s image. I therefore expect the states not to repeat the same mistake,” Babis said.

While he believes the Czech political scene is united regarding the view of illegal migration, he reiterates the country needs to be more active.

The EU member states have been discussing the reform of the EU asylum system since the spring of 2016, but they remain divided regarding migrant redistribution in a critical situation.

The EU’s previous summit in October indicated that the reform should be consensual and member states’ prime ministers and presidents set a deadline for a consensus by mid 2018.

In 2015, the Czech Republic and other countries were outvoted at the level of interior ministers when deciding on the one-off mechanism of redistribution of asylum seekers from Italy and Greece. The system ended this September and the Czech Republic is facing a charge with the European Court of Justice over its refusal to take part in it.

Babis said on Wednesday during the meeting of the Czech parliamentary EU affairs committee that some parts of the proposed reform of the Dublin system were positive, such as the speeding up of the asylum proceedings, which would make returning the rejected asylum seekers to their countries of origin more efficient.

Babis also reiterated that the Visegrad Four countries (V4 – Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland) are to contribute a total of 35 million euros to the project of reinforcing the border in Libya.

He is going to discuss this with the Italian PM Paolo Gentiloni. Babis said experts have suggested that the amount to be contributed by the V4 states be equal, as opposed to proportional according to the GDP or the number of the countries’ inhabitants.

Babis is going to send a more detailed letter to the EC President Jean-Claude Juncker to ask him for a separate talk to discuss the Commissions’ charges against the Czech Republic over its shunning the migrant redistribution system.

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