Prime Minister Andrej Babiš says the Czech Republic doesn’t want a new president of the European Commission that would bring back migrant quotas. As he left for a summit in Brussels, he also said he would not now be discussing a Commission audit finding him in conflict of interest with its outgoing chief.
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.
Last year the Czech Ministry of the Interior granted asylum to one in 10
applicants, iRozhlas.cz reported on Tuesday, citing data from Eurostat. The
chance of asylum being granted in this country is three times lower than
the EU average, the news site said.
The total number of people who received asylum or additional protection from the Czech authorities in 2018 was 155, equivalent to 15 per million inhabitants.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Interior said the Czech authorities received fewer applications from citizens of Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq – who are considered most in danger – than states such as Germany and Greece.
The Czech Republic has a higher percentage of asylum seekers from countries like Ukraine, Georgia, Cuba and Armenia.
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.
A total of 1,350 people applied for asylum in the Czech Republic last year,
according to figures released by the European Union’s statistics office
Ukrainians traditionally made the most asylum requests, followed by Cubans and Georgians.
The overall number of people seeking asylum in the European Union dropped by 11 percent year-on-year to 580,000. Most of the asylum seekers came from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.
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 society has traditionally been quite homogenous. Of course, there have always been regional differences in dialect, culture, folk music. But people understand each other no matter which part of the country they come from, consider themselves to be of one nationality. And that has started changing.