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.
The regional court in Plzen has sentenced a Bulgarian national to three
years and four months in jail for sending hoax terrorist threats to
Pakistan in an effort to secure the release of a young Czech woman held for
The young man sent emails with the hoax threats to two Pakistani media outlets.
He later defended himself in court saying he had acted rashly and would not have committed any attacks.
A court psychologist concluded that the man had no aggressive tendencies and was emotionally unstable.
On his release he is to be extradited from the country and banned from returning for a period of eight years.
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.
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.
Speaking ahead of a joint session of the Czech and Slovak governments in
the town of Košice on Monday, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš
questioned the need for the European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex,
saying that in his view the agency was obsolete. The Czech prime minister
has previously criticized Frontex for allegedly doing too little to guard
EU borders during the migrant crisis, despite receiving large sums of money
to do so.
Mr. Babiš also praised cooperation within the Visegrad Group states, noting that the V4 represented the interests of 65 million Europeans.
The Czech and Slovak governments held a joint session to discuss celebrations marking the centenary of Czechoslovakia in October, bilateral relations and Visegrad Group priorities. The tradition of holding an annual joint session of the two countries' governments was established in 2012.
Czech politicians have missed Friday’s deadline on passing a controversial EU amendment to its directive on the control of the acquisition and possession of weapons. The unpopular amendment has met with wide criticism from gun owners across Europe, many of whom see it as too restrictive and even counterproductive.
Interior Minister Jan Hamáček has said he would push for an amendment to
the foreigners’ law which would enable the authorities to extradite
foreigners who had repeatedly committed crimes in the country faster.
The interior minister said in the lower house of Parliament on Friday that this should be made possible within a maximum period of six months, while at present it was taking the authorities two or more years.
In the course of 2016 and 2017 there were around four hundred such cases, he said. This should concern foreigners who have been convicted of crimes three or more times.
Acting Czech Foreign Minister and Social Democrat leader Jan Hamáček has
defended the right of Czech MEPs to vote in line with their conscience in
the European Parliament vote on whether to launch a procedure against
Hungary on Wednesday.
Hamáček said that he too was concerned by some of the steps taken by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, such as those against the judiciary and the free press.
He said that unlike the Czech prime minister he would not take up the issue with those MEPs who had voted in favour of launching a procedure against Hungary since he understood their line of reasoning.