The number of Czechs who are unconditionally against the Czech Republic
taking in refugees has dropped by 11 percent, to 58 percent, according to a
poll conducted by the CVVM agency.
Eighty-two percent of Czechs consider refugees a potential threat to European security and 71 percent say they are a threat to global peace.
Thirty-five percent of Czechs would agree to the Czech Republic taking in refugees until it is safe for them to return to their homeland. In the autumn of last year only 25 percent of Czechs expressed this view.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš on Monday sharply rejected the idea that the Czech Republic should pay some form of compensation for not accepting migrant quotas. In response to proposals floated by German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the weekend, Mr. Babiš said the Czech people and Czech firms themselves would decide who would live and work in this country.
There are lots of countries in the world that have been hesitant about letting refugees through their borders. The recently re-elected Czech president even ran his campaign partly on a non-immigrant agenda. Nevertheless, Prague is a hub in Europe for those looking for a better life including some refugees from countries suffering from war and poverty.
The European Union needs a strong and viable asylum system, the Czech and
Finnish heads of government Andrej Babis and Juha Sipila agreed during
their talks in Helsinki on Monday.
The two officials said migration was an issue on which the EU badly needed to reach consensus and stressed that migrant quotas were obviously not the answer. The two heads of government said they also had a similar take on EU budget issues, post Brexit.
The Czech Prime Minister is also scheduled to attend the Czech-Finnish business forum and sign a memorandum on Czech accession to the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, which has been operating in Helsinki since April 2017.
Before his departure, Mr Babiš told journalists he would also like to visit a Finnish primary school and university to find inspiration for Czech school reform.
A few weeks ago the Czech Republic joined “Refugees Welcome International ” a platform that was founded in November 2014 to connect refugees with locals who are willing to share their living space and on a day-to-day basis help refugees feel at home in their new country. I spoke to Tomáš Jungwirth, one of the organizers of the project in the Czech Republic, about how it will work and what he hopes to achieve in a country that is not perceived as being overly friendly to migrants.
The number of foreigners residing in the Czech Republic has risen to
493,400, the highest number in the country’s modern history, the Czech
Statistics Office reported on Thursday.
The largest foreign minorities are Ukrainians, Slovaks and Vietnamese. Together these three nationalities make up more than half of the foreigners living in the country.
The Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has warned that prolonged pressure
over the matter of migrant quotas is fuelling populist forces in the Czech
Republic and could, in a worst case scenario, lead to the Czech Republic
leaving the EU.
In an interview for Die Welt the Czech prime minister said the Czech Republic was not shirking its responsibility for helping solve the migrant crisis but felt strongly that it should be resolved outside the EU, in the counties of origin.
Mr. Babiš has come under pressure from the anti-migrant Party of Freedom and Direct Democracy to agree on a bill which would enable Czechs to vote in a referendum on leaving the EU, but has resisted the pressure, saying that referenda on foreign policy issues such as this are unacceptable.
Police arrested three Turkish nationals traveling on Prague's ring
road for allegedly trying to smuggle 22 people from Iraq, Syria and Turkey
into Germany; the group was found hidden in the back of their van. The
suspects are believed to have smuggled some 100 people or so across the
border in the past.
The news was confirmed on Friday by the spokesman for the National Centre Against Organized Crime Jaroslav Ibehej. If found guilty, the trio could face up to eight years in jail.
EU representatives, members of the African Union and UN officials are
meeting in Brussels to discuss the possibility of increasing aid to the
Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger ) in order
to help stem the migrant crisis, fight terrorism and people smuggling.
The EU wants to raise 500 million euros for this purpose of which 414 million has already been pledged.
The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babiš said that the Czech Republic would contribute 4 million euros into the Fund for Africa this year.
The EU has two security missions in the region – one in Niger and two in Mali, in which Czech troops are involved.