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Czech PM: Europe cannot escape migration crisis

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Prague, Aug 24 (CTK) – Europe cannot escape the migration crisis, since a free movement of people within the EU is at stake, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said in his speech to the heads of Czech diplomatic missions abroad at their meeting Monday.

He added that he would pay more attention to the causes of the current crisis.

In his speech, Sobotka (senior government Social Democrats, CSSD) emphasised the importance of EU and NATO membership for the Czech Republic also in view of the current threats.

“The awareness of that the migration problem is a problem of the whole Europe is crucial for the solution to the current situation in the EU. We cannot avoid this challenge, flee from it. Many things are at stake – the whole Schengen system of a free movement of people within the Union, that si one of the fundamental pillars of European integration,” Sobotka told the diplomats.

Europe must not solve merely the crisis consequences, he added.

“The most important step to halt the migration wave is the termination of war conflicts in Syria and Libya,” Sobotka said.

He considers the improvement of living conditions in the countries of origin of most refugees of key importance, he added.

“Only when the countries of origin are able to protect their citizens’ lives and property and offer them prospect of a dignified life, the migrants might stop risking their lives in a desert or at sea,” he pointed out.

Sobotka in his address also talked about the importance of the Visegrad Four (V4) group, comprised of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, and the challenges that the EU faced in the past years.

The Czech Republic is against the dividing of the euro zone from the rest of EU, he added.

“We do not want to create a union within the Union since our country will become part of the euro zone as soon as it is prepared for it,” Sobotka said.

“In the worsened security environment, more than any time before, I can see a security guarantee in the firm anchoring in the Euroatlantic structures,” he said about NATO. In this respect he highlighted the Czech commitment to increase defence expenditures.

However, security risks cannot be solved by force only, and this is why the capacities in the area of na significant role, Sobotka said, reminding of the Czech Republic’s long-term emphasis on human rights protection.

At the end of his speech, Sobotka also mentioned the intensifying cooperation with a number of Asian countries and the importance of economic and scientific diplomacy.

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