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Czech PM: Separatism may follow Brexit

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Prague, Feb 18 (CTK) – Nationalism and separatism can be expected to rise and a domino effect may follow in Europe if Britain leaves the EU, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka told the European committee of the Chamber of Deputies on Thursday.

The committee is dealing with the government position before the crucial summit of the European Council on Thursday and Friday.

Sobotka said he believed if the migration pressure were not reduced, European countries would gradually close their borders.

Britain is before a referendum on its leaving the EU. Prime Minister David Cameron is negotiating about a reform package within it.

According to the latest polls, the number of opponents of Britain’s EU membership prevails over that of its followers.

If Britain decides to leave the EU, Scotland, which is considerably more pro-European than the rest of the country, may try to break away from it.

“A split of Britain is one of the alternatives,” Sobotka said.

I think that basically such a wave that would go through Britain would also go through Europe because there are various regions in Europe that are not quite satisfied with their position within their countries,” Sobotka said, mentioning Catalonia.

“I am afraid of the domino effect, which means that if Britain leaves, a wave of nationalism and separatism will objectively run across the whole of Europe in reaction to it,” Sobotka said.

“The wave will be objectively supported by the atmosphere created by the migrant crisis,” he added.

This would be a big burden for some countries, Sobotka said.

Sobotka said he believed the present debates in the EU resulted from Britain’s internal problem into which the EU had been unfortunately dragged.

“If I had the right to vote in the referendum, I would vote for Britain staying in the EU,” he added.

The Brussels summit will also deal with migration. Sobotka said it was impossible to allow a repetition of the situation from last summer where refugees had been flocking en masse to the EU.

He said he believed in such a case the European countries would react in a much stricter way, gradually closing their borders.

The Czech Republic will carefully watch the situation and if need be, it will take security measures on its border, Sobotka said.

The European committee of the Chamber of Deputies clearly supported Sobotka’s stance with which he is leaving for the summit.

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