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Senate rejects immigrant quotas

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Prague, June 18 (CTK) – The Senate, the upper house of Czech parliament, Thursday rejected the introduction of quotas for the redistribution of immigrants in the EU, in harmony with the Czech government’s stance.

The Senate recommended to stabilise the situation in the refugees’ countries of origin instead.

The upper house agreed on this position when debating the European Commission’s proposal to ease the situation of Italy and Greece that face a massive influx of refugees from Asia and Africa.

“The obligatory relocation of immigrants from Italy and Greece does not solve the reasons for the current massive migration wave and it is not connected with the protection of the lives of the migrants in the Mediterranean Sea,” the Senate said in its stance, proposed by its European committee.

Senators point out that the relocated immigrants may try to get to the countries where they were heading for originally and would not like to stay in the country where they were sent.

Their current target countries are now mainly Germany and Sweden.

In May, the EC proposed that some 40,000 immigrants staying in Italy and Greece be spread among the whole EU in the next two years. The 10.5-million Czech Republic was to accept 1,328 immigrants.

Objections to the EC proposal have been raised by the Visegrad Four countries (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia), the Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), Bulgaria as well as Spain and other countries.

Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (Social Democrats, CSSD) noted that 60 percent of refugees cannot be granted asylum in the Czech Republic since they were economic immigrants. The Czech Republic should have the right to choose whom it wants to accept on its territory, he added.

He said the agreements enabling to return economic immigrants and make the fight against people smugglers more efficient should be signed.

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