Nowhere in the entire European Union was a person fleeing their homeland less likely to be granted safe harbour last year than in the Czech Republic. Fresh data from Eurostat show that in 2018 the Czech Ministry of Interior granted international protection to only 1 in 10 applicants – while not a single refugee was resettled here.
The Czech Republic absented itself from a meeting of UN representatives in
Marrakesh on Monday at which 164 states signed the Global Compact on
The Czech government announced earlier that it would withdraw from the pact citing ambiguities in its interpretation. Czech officials argue that the compact does not draw a clear line between legal and illegal migration or state that illegal migration is undesirable.
Around a dozen other countries including the US, Austria, Hungary and Poland have also refused to support the global compact.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says he will suggest to government that the Czech Republic doesn’t sign the UN’s Global Compact for Migration, citing ambiguities in its interpretation. The decision mirrors those concluded by the Czech Republic’s central European neighbours Austria and Hungary who have already announced they will not sign the agreement.
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has criticized central European
member states for refusing to accept mandatory quotas agreed in 2015 to
take in refugees, and especially for rejecting his own proposal to at least
host unaccompanied refugee children without families.
Juncker said in an interview with the French daily Le Monde published over the weekend that their stance was "scandalous" and failed to demonstrate even "basic solidarity" with other EU states.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš last month refused to even consider taking in 50 orphans from Syria but has since softened his stance.
The Czech Interior Ministry has proposed sending 50 million crowns in aid
to Iraq, Mali, Nigeria and Chad as part of the country’s policy of
helping countries of migrant origin.
The money is to be used to improve the countries’ infrastructure, build houses for migrants who wish to return home, clean water facilities and health care.
The projects are to be overseen by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the NGO Caritas Internationalis.
The government is to debate the proposal at its regular session on Wednesday.
Having served as US secretary of state from 1997 to 2001, Madeleine Albright ranks as one of the most accomplished of all Czech-Americans. I got to speak to the Prague-born politician recently when she was special guest at the Reality Czech evening in New York, organised by the Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association and the Václav Havel Library Foundation to mark the centenary of the founding of Czechoslovakia. Our conversation eventually turned to that landmark anniversary – but it began with Secretary Albright’s recently published book Fascism:
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has tasked Czech NGOs with selecting 50 Syrian
orphans which the country could help. Following widespread criticism of his
refusal to accept 50 child migrants, Babis met with Czech MEP Michaela
Šojdrová, who first floated the idea, and agreed to look into the
However both the prime minister and the MEP interpret the outcome of the meeting differently. Šojdrová says that Babiš promised to take in 50 Syrian child migrants if there were no bureaucratic hurdles on the road and if Czech families were willing to give them a home.
The prime minister maintains that if the MEP manages to produce such a list, it would be best to help the selected children in their home country.
Babiš has accused Šojdrová of leading a smear campaign against him ahead of the local and Senate elections due to take place in two weeks’ time.
As Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš defended his government’s decision not to accept even a single migrant at the EU summit in Salzburg, trouble was brewing for him at home. A proposal for the Czech Republic to take in 50 Syrian orphans, has gained increasing support, and the prime minister is being showered with requests to break from his policy and make a humanitarian gesture.
The opposition TOP 09 party plan to submit a resolution calling on the
government to take in 50 Syrian orphans from refugee camps. They will put
the matter to the lower house on Wednesday. The party’s Markéta
Pekarová Adamová said a civilised country should be capable of making
such a symbolic humanitarian gesture.
The move comes after Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said he was not prepared to take in any such orphans, arguing that children should be helped in the places they come from. Mr. Babiš recently said he would not accept “a single refugee”.