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.
European far-right leaders, including Marine Le Pen of France and Geert Wilders of the Netherlands, gathered in Prague on Thursday for private meetings and a public rally in support of Czech politician Tomio Okamura’s Freedom and Direct Democracy party, or the SPD. The fiercely anti-immigrant, Eurosceptic party is the fourth-largest in the Czech lower house and aims to win its first seats in the European Parliament in May.
The Czech police has arrested 12 foreign citizens and charged them with people smuggling. If convicted, the individuals could face up to 10 years in jail, Jaroslav Ibehej, spokesman for the National Centre for Combating Organised Crime (NCOZ), told the Czech News Agency on Friday. The suspects, all citizens of former Soviet countries, are believed to have belonged to an international group that focused on illegally smuggling migrants from Southeast Asia and providing them with false documents. The police spokesman says the group was destroyed through a combined effort of Czech, Polish, Slovak and Ukrainian police.
Germany has reported an increase in the number of illegal migrants entering
the country from the Czech Republic. According to data released by the
German Interior Ministry the police intercepted over 3,900 illegal migrants
trying to cross the border from the Czech Republic between January and
November 2018, an increase of 10.8 percent as compared to the previous
According to the Czech Interior Ministry the statistics are misleading, due to the fact that the numbers include persons who had already been granted asylum in Germany and who failed to produce proof of this after making a brief trip across the border. Interior Minister Jan Hamáček told journalists the increase in the given period was by 19 persons, rather than close to 400, as the German statistics suggest.
This time of year, everyone is naturally taking stock of 2018 – the highs and lows of the past year – and what may lie ahead. Meanwhile, in Brussels, the EU’s direct initiative to identify, debunk and counter Russia’s disinformation campaign has come out with a list entitled “What did not happen in 2018?”
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.
The Czech government has, as anticipated, refused to participate in the
United Nations Global Compact for Migration. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš
confirmed this on Wednesday morning, a week after he and the foreign
minister, Tomáš Petříček, said Prague would not sign up to the treaty,
which is due to be approved in the middle of next month.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying Czech priorities, such as differentiating between legal and illegal migrants, had not been included in the document.
The Czech Republic and Poland see no reason why V4 countries should take a
coordinated stand towards the United Nations migration pact, Czech Foreign
Minister Tomáš Petříček and his Polish counterpart Jacek Czaputowicz
said after a meeting in Warsaw on Thursday.
The Czech Republic and Poland want to join Hungary in withdrawing from the non-binding Global Compact on Migration, which was approved by 191 UN member states in July. Slovakia has not rejected the agreement so far.
Mr. Petříček has also said he wants to cooperate with like-minded countries in finding solutions for migration.
The Czech government has reportedly decided not to join the UN migration
pact but will formally debate the move this coming Wednesday. Prime
Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) has argued that the agreement fails to
distinguish between legal and illegal migration. A decision is expected
following the debate.
The Czech Republic, along with 191 other UN member states, in July approved the non-binding Global Compact for Migration, which aims to offer better protection to migrants and refugees.
The document will be officially signed in December, in Morocco. Two other Central European countries, Austria and Hungary, have already withdrawn from the agreement, as have the United States and Australia.
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.