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.
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.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has come under fire on the domestic
scene for refusing to take in a group of 50 Syrian orphans. Babiš told the
daily Právo he saw no reason why the country should help Syrian orphans
when it had orphans of its own to look after.
He said the Czech Republic was showing sufficient solidarity with the countries of migrant origin by sending them money, doctors and experts.
Acting foreign minister Jan Hamáček of the Social Democrats countered that a country of 10 million could surely be able to cope with 50 Syrian orphans.
Opposition politicians from TOP 09, the Christian Democratic Party and Mayors and Independents said the prime minister’s statement was shameful and inhumane.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (Ano) said Thursday that the European
Parliament was wrong to try to sanction Hungary and his government
“stands behind” Viktor Orban, whom he called an “ally”.
Mr Babiš also said he would take up the issue with Ano party members who voted in favour of launching the so-called Article 7 process against Hungary.
It total 448 MEPs, including 21 Czechs, voted in favour of triggering the sanctions procedure over Orban’s challenge to EU rules and values on media freedom, migration and rule of law dating back several years. Four MEPs elected on the Ano ticket voted for the sanctions – Pavel Telička and Petr Ježek, who are no longer in the party; and Dita Chrazanová and Martina Dlabajová.
Mr Babiš told journalists the move only served to divide Europe and that MEPs should be focusing on issues such as Brexit.
On Monday, the minister of labour and social affairs called for a wide-ranging interdepartmental effort to sort out the issue of rogue landlords preying on families living in socially excluded localities. A list of 15 specific measures will act as a common thread in the preparation of a series of government proposals aimed at limiting the poverty trade business.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’ wife Monika has resigned from the board of
Imoba, the company that owns the Stork’s Nest farm and conference centre,
over which her husband faces charges of EU subsidy fraud, the daily E15
reported on Monday.Monika Babišova left the board at her own request
without giving any reasons.
Prime Minister Babiš is suspected of having manipulated the status of the Stork’s Nest farm in order to gain a 50 million crown EU subsidy for the company which would otherwise have been out of reach.
Although Babiš has denies any wrongdoing, Imoba recently returned the subsidy in full.
The European Union needs unity in its foreign and trade policy, Czech Prime
Minister Andrej Babiš told the German daily Bild.
The Czech prime minister said the trade dispute with US President Donald Trump showed how badly Europe needed to stand together and act in unity. He said Brexit was bad in every way for Europe and Brussels must prevent further departures from the bloc.
As regards the Czech Republic, Babiš said the country’s departure from the EU would be a disaster.
On the domestic front, the Czech prime minister rejected the idea that the Communists, who supported the minority government of ANO and the Social Democrats, had acquired significant influence on national decision-making.