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HN: EU manages to cope with crises, including refugee wave

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Prague, Sept 24 (CTK) – Europe has been mercilessly tested in the last ten years by big crises, but it has actually managed to cope with all of them and the current refugee crisis may be dealt with, too, thanks to the fresh agreement on the quotas, Tomas Sedlacek writes in daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) Thursday.

It is good that the EU has agreed on the quotas because systematic aid to the refugees can begin. The attitude of Central and Eastern Europe, including the Czech Republic, was wrong, the economist Sedlacek writes.

He says the EU is the strongest economic bloc in the world. It is an oasis of peace, freedom, tolerance and generosity – its citizens have things like free education, health care and state-guaranteed pensions and nobody is suffering from hunger or cold, he adds.

But Europe has been undergoing tough tests, Sedlacek writes.

The first crisis, financial, tested whether the EU members would help one another, he says.

Then came the Greek crisis and the question of whether the stronger countries should help the weaker ones.

Europe has dealt with both of these problems, more or less, Sedlacek writes.

The third to come was the Ukrainian crisis. The question it posed was whether the EU was willing to help a country that is not its member and only longs for membership – for the European values of freedom, democracy, openness, prosperity and for not succumbing to the pressure exerted by Russia, Sedlacek writes.

He says this question was more difficult because it was not only an economic one but also a military, geopolitical, civilisation, human one.

Europe managed to deal with this crisis somehow as well, although the crisis has not been resolved yet, Sedlacek writes.

And, finally, the fourth crisis is the largest wave of refugees after World War Two. This question is even deeper: Europe is not asked for external (financial) aid that can be sent somewhere beyond its borders.

It is people who are asking for acceptance, asylum. In a way, it would be a spontaneous extension of the EU, not geographically to include new states, which has been encouraged, but through migration, Sedlacek writes.

None of these questions could be solved on a national level, but agreement of all the EU member countries was always needed. Fortunately, Europe has its EU institutions, otherwise each of these explosive issues might cause an economic and a diplomatic conflict, or possibly even a military one, Sedlacek writes.

He writes that problems, such as refugees, may either be moved from one border to another, or faced together in order to seek a solution, an agreement.

Four agreements have been made so far, he adds.

Sedlacek writes that it took rather a long time to get rid of the division of the EU into Western and Eastern Europe. In the recent years, the division between the north and the south started to be mentioned in connection with the financial crisis instead. The refugee crisis is bringing back the division between Western and Eastern Europe again, however, he writes.

Poland had its patriotic period when it hated the rest of the surrounding relevant world, Slovakia also experienced this and Hungary is going through such a stage now. The Czech Republic seems to have its nationalist period permanently, rejecting almost everything – the Lisbon Treaty, the euro, the aid to Greece, the banking union, Sedlacek writes.

But the Czechs have never proposed any alternative solution, he says.

Why is the small Czech Republic, which has no real enemies and whose citizens are rather easy-going, always standing aside in the EU during a crisis and why does it boycott all the good solutions? Sedlacek asks.

The quotas concern the redistribution of 120,000 refugees across the EU, he writes.

The small Lebanon with 4.5 million inhabitants, which is markedly poorer than the Czech Republic, has accepted 1.1 million Syrians. Turkey has accepted 1.7 million refugees. Even Tanzania, where the average income is 15 times lower than in Europe, has hosted hundreds of thousands of war refugees from Congo and Burundi for years without any complaints, Sedlacek writes.

Britain finally agreed to accept 20,000 refugees in five years, while the Czechs have just rejected to accept a few thousands, even though they are dying out, he writes.

Terrorists and preachers of the hate religion would not come in small boats, but they would land at the Prague airport, flying the business class, Sedlacek writes, referring to the fears of Islamic terrorists.

The refugees are fleeing from war, he says.

The Czech Republic is making a bigger mess in the EU than all the incoming refugees, Sedlacek concludes.

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