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Minister says two more detention centres needed

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Bor, West Bohemia, Sept 8 (CTK) – Only two new detention centres for up to 400 refugees will be opened in the Czech Republic in the next few months because refugees do not want to stay in the country, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said Tuesday.

A refugee centre in Drahonice, north Bohemia, is to open by the end of the year and the opening of a refugee centre in Balkova, west Bohemia, is scheduled for next January.

The reconstruction of Balkova is being prepared and its costs should be maximally 20 million crowns. “Primarily, we promised the neighbouring municipalities to build a fence,” Chovanec said.

Up to 200 refugees may be accommodated in Balkova, however, the centre’s capacity may be further extended.

The reconstruction of Drahonice, a former prison, is to cost less than that of Balkova, Chovanec said.

“We are trying to find compounds that are suitable, for example former prisons. There is no point in spending a lot of public finances. We don’t know how the migration wave is going to develop,” he said.

Chovanec told CTK that further facilities would be gradually opened if something unexpected occurred.

Some of the approximately 2500 refugees who were moving across the country in the past three and a half months are still staying in the detention centres because they are unwilling to reveal their identity and their asylum proceedings have not been completed yet, Chovanec said.

He said Syrians who were registered in another EU country had been gradually released from the facilities because Germany said it would accept them.

Sixty Syrians have recently applied for asylum in the Czech Republic and all of them have been granted it, Chovanec said.

He said the Czech government is looking forward to the meeting on the migration crisis that will be held in Brussels on September 14. The European Commission has been talking about quotas for the redistribution of refugees, but not about readmission policy, not about a military operation, not about the protection of the Schengen external borders, he pointed out.

“If we don’t clearly declare our readiness to protect our borders, the migration stream will not subside,” Chovanec said.

He said economic immigrants have nothing to do in Europe. Refugees fleeing war form about 40 percent of the migration wave, he added.

The measures taken by Hungary should reinforce the protection of its border with Serbia after September 15, which would move the migration stream southwards and the Czech Republic would not be part of the migration route anymore, Chovanec said.

The refugees would move via Croatia, Slovenia and Austria to Germany, he said.

Tomas Haisman, head of the asylum and migration policy of the Interior Ministry, said there were two possible scenarios after the construction of the fence on the Hungarian-Serbian border was finished: either the refugees would break the fence or they would find another migration route that might go across Croatia.

He said the development of this situation would be apparent at the end of the month.

Haisman said the numbers of migrants were likely to fall also because the weather was going to get colder.

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