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PM wants to link EU development aid to migrants’ returning

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Prague, Oct 20 (CTK) – Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka will be pushing for development aid to African countries being conditional on their taking back migrants from Europe at the EU summit on Thursday and on Friday, he has told the European committee of the Chamber of Deputies.

He said he will also press for a better functioning of hotspots to prevent migrants from advancing deeper to Europe.

“If we provide money, we must demand cooperation on illegal migration and we must have an opportunity to return migrants to these countries,” Sobotka said.

However, it is not possible to expect such an agreement to be signed with Libya, from where ships bring migrants across the Mediterranean Sea to Italy, Sobotka said.

He said the civil war has been raging in the country and the EU has no partner to secure the fulfilling of agreements across Libya.

That is why the EU should cooperate with Libya’s neighbours in stemming the migrant flows, Sobotka said.

He said the EU is succeeding in more migrants being returned to their country of origin, but this takes long and it is expensive.

That is why he came out in favour of a better coordination of European countries’ steps in migrant deportations.

Sobotka said hotspots must also help contain migrants.

“They must be camps for migrants where they would stay pending a decision is made on whether they will be returned or granted asylum,” Sobotka said.

He said the Czech Republic will support all steps aimed to prevent the advance of people from Greek islands, on which the hotspots are emerging, to Europe’s hinterland, because this raises the migrant pressure along the Balkan route to Central Europe.

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