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Babiš: Main hotspot for migrants should be in Turkey

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The Hague, Feb 11 (CTK special correspondent) – Hotspots for the registration of refugees should be established outside the EU, and the main one should be in Turkey, Czech Deputy Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) told reporters before meeting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in The Hague on Thursday.

Babis also said Greece should not be a part of the Schengen system because it is unable to protect the area.

“I would personally prefer the hotpots being outside Europe,” Babis, who is also finance minister, said.

“I think that Turkey should be the main hotspot, a kind of the Ellis Island, where the selection should be made,” Babis said, alluding to the island near New York via which millions of immigrants flowed to the USA in the past.

After his meeting with Rutte, he said the Greek island of Lesbos could also be such a place.

The European border protection should be centrally directed by Brussels, Babis said.

“We believe that the responsibility and competence should be taken over centrally by the European Union. It should be withdrawn from the countries such as Greece and Italy, which have received money for it [EU border protection] and which have practically failed,” Babis said.

Greece, through which a large part of refugees flow to Europe, has often faced criticism.

“If you look at a map, Greece’s membership is inappropriate because its neighbours are not a part of Schengen,” Babis said in reaction to the question of whether Greece should remain a part of the Schengen system.

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) previously said the EU should consider establishing a reserve border line in Bulgaria and Macedonia.

Babis said the V4 should take the initiative to Brussels, too.

The V4 is comprised of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

Rutte said every idea is welcome. But he added that it would be meaningless now to talk about whether Greece should remain a part of Schengen and that both Greece and Turkey must help stem the migrant flow.

Both Babis and Rutte hailed NATO’s decision to help fighting the people smugglers in the Aegean Sea.

Babis spoke about that NATO should participate in tackling the migrant issue before already.

He said a wall similar to the one separating the United States from Mexico would be an alternative in case the major hotspot in Turkey did not work.

Turkey that hosts 2.5 million Syrian refugees threatened on Thursday that it might open the door to Europe to the migrants.

Babis did not have a special mandate from the government for his foreign trip on Thursday. He went to the Netherlands as a representative of the ANO movement which he heads and which is a member of the liberal group in the European Parliament just as Rutte’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).

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