October 25, 2015: An inflatable boat filled with refugees and other migrants approaches the north coast of the Greek island of Lesbos (Illustrative image)

Czech Republic does not support new EU migration bill, says Interior Minister

The Czech Republic will not support a bill proposed by four EU countries trying to aid migrants rescued in the Mediterranean

Luxembourg, Oct 8 (CTK) – The Czech Republic will not support a bill proposed by four EU countries trying to aid migrants rescued in the Mediterranean by introducing a relocation system on a voluntary basis, Interior Minister Jan Hamáček told journalists today before meeting his EU colleagues.

Hamáček (head of junior government Social Democrats, CSSD) said that the draft bill, whose goal is to alleviate the migrant numbers taken care of by Italy and Malta, would serve as an invitation to more migrants and would lead to more migrant quotas for member countries.

The draft bill, initiated by Germany, France, Italy and Malta, is calling on EU members to get involved in a temporary and voluntary system that is to save the lives of migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean.

“For us, this is the first step towards the proposed material becoming a permanent regime, capable of replacing the current Dublin Regulation, and the Czech Republic cannot accept that,” Hamáček said, referring to the current asylum system that the EU countries have been trying to agree on since the peak of the current migrant crisis.

The draft bill is mainly motivated by the last several months, when multiple ships with rescued migrants were unable to land in Italy.

The initiators of the draft bill expect it to be received positively by up to ten other EU member countries, with diplomats from Greece and Spain already expressing preliminary support. On the other hand, Hungary and Poland already voiced their disagreement.

Hamacek added that some northern EU members are also opposed to the draft bill and it does not have the support of the majority of EU countries.

He said that instead of accepting the voluntary basis relocation system, the Czech Republic wants to offer financial aid to the migrants’ countries of origin and contribute to border security.

“We need to thoroughly implement the return policy,” Hamacek said, adding that there are still countries without a functional agreement with the EU about returning migrants to their countries of origin.

Also read:  Czech Republic tops Germany, EU average in overall life satisfaction

He added that, for example, more support for the Lybian border guard could help.

bas/mr/pvr

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