Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Babiš debates migration with Juncker, says it is long-term issue

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Table of Contents

Brussels, Jan 29 (CTK) – The debate on the European asylum system reform is a long-term issue, which might not end before mid-2018, Czech PM Andrej Babis said after a series of meetings with EC members including EC President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels on Monday.

His talks with Juncker therefore produced no concrete solution to the migrant quota problem, he told journalists.

He said he once again told Juncker the well-known position of Prague and other central European countries which believe that asylum-seekers’ redistribution is no solution to the migrant crisis.

This position is no novelty for the EC because the discussion about the EC-proposed reform of the EU asylum policy has been blocked since the spring 2016 over the central European EU countries’ opposition to it.

Last autumn, an EU summit confirmed member countries’ interest in seeking a consensual solution.

A solution is now being sought under the Bulgarian EU presidency.

Babis said the debate might continue even during Austria’s presidency in the latter half of the year.

“The quotas are a problem that divides Europe. We actually want to persuade the commission and other member countries that we want solidarity, that we will find another solution,” Babis told reporters.

He mentioned a joint project of the Visegrad Four (V4) group (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia), which has considerably contributed to the EU fund in support of solving migration in Africa.

In the past, the Czechs also helped by sending police to help protect the EU border in countries such as Slovenia, Hungary and Bulgaria, Babis said.

“We exchanged opinions and I assess it positively,” he said about his talks with Juncker.

He said the debate also touched upon the situation around the lawsuit the EC recently filed against the Czech Republic over its refusal to join the previously approved EU system of the relocation of migrants from Greece and Italy.

“We will deal with it at home, we will think about it,” Babis said, adding that Prague has two months to react to the EC step.

“We will seek a solution, I would not specify it for now,” Babis said.

A coordination of the V4 countries is important, he said.

Babis said in tackling the migrant crisis, the EU now focuses mainly on improving the outer border protection and a faster returning of the migrants who are not eligible for EU asylum.

They have also intensified cooperation with the countries of migrants’ origin. “The question is what can still be done better,” Babis said.

Before meeting Juncker, Babis had talks with Michel Barnier, the EU negotiator for Brexit, whom he acquainted with Prague’s position on the Brexit negotiations and invited him to the Czech Republic. Barnier may pay a visit to Prague in the spring, diplomatic sources told CTK.

Babis started his series of Brussels meetings earlier on Monday with talks with Vera Jourova, the Czech EU commissioner for justice and consumers’ protection and former high representative of Babis’s ANO movement.

Babis arrived in Brussels now that a debate on the EU’s future shape is starting and discussions about a deepening of the economic and financial union and changes in the euro zone operation are intensifying.

Babis became Czech prime minister in December but his ANO minority government was forced to resign after a couple of weeks as it failed to win parliament’s confidence and now it is ruling in resignation. President Milos Zeman has assigned Babis to launch new government-forming talks.

Babis and Juncker met in Brussels once before, shortly after Babis’s appointment as PM in December. They spoke French with each other at their meeting today which was an opportunity for both to establish personal relations.

Babis heralded beforehand that at his meeting with Juncker, he would repeat Prague’s rejection of the EC-proposed permanent mechanism of migrant redistribution in case of a crisis.

most viewed

Subscribe Now