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Pehe: Gov’t leaving defensive approach to refugee crisis

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Prague, Aug 26 (CTK) – The Czech government surpassed its previous defensive approach to the refugee crisis that showed a lack of solidarity with other European countries, Jiri Pehe writes in daily Pravo Wednesday, referring to the prime minister’s address delivered before Czech ambassadors on Monday.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said the migration crisis is a challenge that Europe cannot escape since a free movement of people within the European Union is at stake, Pehe writes.

He recalls that Sobotka pointed out that the whole Schengen system of a free movement of people within the EU, which si one of the fundamental pillars of European integration, is at stake.

On the same day, Sobotka said after meeting with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius that the EU should have a joint system of its external border guarding, Pehe writes.

He notes that Sobotka said the Czech Republic is ready to participate in such common European policy.

Until now, the Czech government claimed that the refugee crisis needed to be dealt with in the countries, from which the refugees were coming, Pehe writes.

He adds that the government was rather unwilling to talk about hot issues such as what should be done with the hundreds of thousands of migrants who have already entered Europe or how to start effectively controlling the refugee influx at the EU external border.

Especially in its rejection of the refugee quotas, which Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann criticised on Tuesday, the Czech government passed the main burden of responsibility on other EU countries, especially those that protect the external borders, and failed to show solidarity with its European partners, Pehe writes.

As Sobotka said the Czech Republic realises that the refugee crisis concerns all EU countries and that the Czechs would initiate European talks on joint protection of the European borders, let us hope he would join the effort of German Chancellor Angela Merkel who called for the formation of a common European immigration and asylum policy, Pehe writes.

Until now, the Czech Republic rejected this idea, he says.

Instead, the Czech political leaders applied a rather absurd and useless defence in form of their own policy and fantasies about the deployment of the military at the Czech border to deal with the refugee crisis that goes far beyond the possibilities of individual countries, Pehe writes.

Moreover, a special Czech immigration and asylum policy is of little use because there are no borders among the countries within the Schengen system, Pehe says.

He quotes Sobotka as saying the most important step to halt the migration wave is the termination of war conflicts in Syria and Libya and the improvement of living conditions in the countries of origin of most refugees.

The Czech government should try to move from general declarations to particular proposals that it would submit at the talks in Brussels, Pehe writes.

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