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.
Twenty-eight senators have sent an open letter to Prime Minister Andrej
Babis urging him to take steps enabling the Czech Republic to admit 50
Syrian orphans from overcrowded camps in Greece.
The signatories of the letter say that orphans in need deserve unconditional and immediate help and the Czech Republic should be among the countries offering this kind of assistance.
Among the signatories is the Speaker of the upper chamber Milan Štěch of the Social Democrats.
The prime minister earlier rejected the idea of taking in 50 orphans saying the country was not ready to accept migrants and this case was no different.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said in an interview for the BBC that he was
“very unhappy” that the U.K. is leaving the bloc and he would like to
see the country hold another referendum that might overturn the result.
Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat expressed a similar position.
Speaking to EU leaders in Salzburg British prime minister Theresa May, ruled out such a possibility, saying the U.K. would not push back the deadline in negotiations or hold another referendum on Brexit.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has hailed the idea to hold a summit of
EU and African states, but voiced disappointment with the EU debate on
migration at an informal summit in Salzburg.
Mr. Babiš said that some politicians are still insisting on the redistribution of illegal migrants which took the debate a few years back.
The Czech prime minister said the fact that some EU politicians seem to have come to terms with the flow of illegal migrants to Europe was an invitation to people smugglers and criticized the fact that the EU had not agreed on more concrete measures how to fight them.
As regards Frontex, Babiš said it was essential to clear up the agency’s role in the future. He earlier stressed it would be good if Frontex operated outside of Europe, rather than duplicating the coast guards of individual member states.
The Czech branch of anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International has
sent a formal complaint to the European Commission alleging a conflict of
interest between PM Andrej Babiš and his economic interests in relation to
the Agrofert group.
The complaint alleges that Mr Babiš is both founder and beneficiary of trust funds overseeing Agrofert, giving him de facto control of a company with a deep interest in issues at stake in Common Agricultural Policy reform and broader EU budget negotiations.
Under EU rules, persons involved in the implementation and administration of the bloc’s budget must “refrain from any action likely to bring their interests into conflict with the interests of the Union.”
Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s EU summit in Salzburg, the Czech and Slovak heads of government criticized the European Commission‘s plans to increase funding for the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex. They argued that this amounts to duplicating European security structures and boosting an agency that has not proven very effective.
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”.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has come under fire for outright rejecting a proposal to take in 50 Syrian orphans – or even a single refugee until the EU secures its borders. In an interview published on Saturday, he said the Czech Republic had demonstrated its solidarity in other, meaningful ways and has its orphans to worry about.
Czech MEP Michaela Šojdrová of the Christian Democrats, has asked for a
meeting with Prime Minister Andrej Babiš to try to persuade him that the
Czech Republic should take in 50 Syrian orphans from a migrant camp in
Šojdrová, who first floated the idea, said that taking in child migrants would be a show of solidarity.
Prime Minister Babiš, who is strictly against taking in migrants, sharply rejected the idea at the weekend saying the Czech Republic was ready to help these and other orphans in their country of origin, where the migrant crisis should be resolved.
His stand elicited strong criticism from opposition parties who called it selfish and inhumane. Even his coalition partner, acting foreign minister Jan Hamáček from the Social Democrats, said a country of 10 million should be able to accommodate 50 orphans.