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Different stance on migration could impact Czech-German relations

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Berlin/Prague, Sept 20 (CTK) – Although the Czech-German relations have lately been the best ever in their history, the different stances of both countries on the migration crisis are disturbing them, German MP Petra Ernstberger has told CTK before the Sunday elections to the German Bundestag.

“Naturally, it happens that within the EU but also between us (Germans and Czechs) we don’t always share the same opinion. This may happen with friends and partners as well, though,” Ernstberger (Social Democrats, SPD) said, stressing the existing ability of Czechs and Germans to discuss any controversial issues.

There are differences, of course, on the issue of the German migration policy, but Germany has such differences with other countries as well, she said.

Ernstberger stressed the need to look for a “common European solution” to the issue as it is not a problem limited only to Germany, but a European problem that has to be tackled by multiple countries.

Rudolf Jindrak, the current head of the foreign affairs department of the Czech presidential office and former ambassador to Germany, shared the view of Ernstberger on the significance of the stance on migration for the Czech-German relations.

Jindrak highlighted the possible negative impact that disputes over the solution to the migration crisis could have on the two countries’ relations, however.

“This will make mutual relations more complicated” and the disputes over the solution to the migration crisis could even ruin them, Jindrak told CTK.

With respect to the upcoming German federal election on September 24, Jindrak said the way in which the election outcome would translate into the EU politics and German-French cooperation was crucial.

Should Chancellor Angela Merkel (Christian Democrats, CDU) stay in the office, the smaller EU states would not be overlooked, while the election of German Social Democrats (SPD) leader Martin Schulz would mean that the role of the European citizenship would be highlighted, Jindrak said.

The recent proposal of Schulz that the EU withholds a portion of the EU subsidies from countries that refuse to accept refugees has drawn attention in the Czech Republic. Merkel repeatedly refused to associate the EU subsidies with the approach of EU countries to accepting refugees.

Renata Koprivova, a Czech woman living in Berlin since 2013 who also worked as a trainee in an MP’s office in the Bundestag, said it seemed to her that the Czech Republic had not been recently highlighted in the German media and that the country did not matter much.

Koprivova told CTK that the Czech stance on the accepting of refugees was perceived rather negatively in Germany, but it was just one of many news items.

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