Refugees at Zákány Railway Station in Hungary, October 2015

Czech Republic to oppose any EU asylum policy that includes migrant quotas

The Czech Republic will continue opposing any policy that would introduce obligatory quotas, says Foreign Minister Jan Hamáček

Prague, Nov 27 (CTK) – The Czech Republic will continue opposing any EU asylum policy that would introduce obligatory migrant quotas, Foreign Minister Jan Hamáček (junior government Social Democrats, CSSD) and Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (senior government ANO) said today.

“We will coordinate our stance with our Visegrad Four (V4; Czechia, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia) partners,” Hamáček told CTK, commenting on the new German proposal to change the EU’s asylum policy.

According to the proposal, after the migrants pass an initial check at the outer border of the EU, they would be redistributed among the member countries which would then be tasked with handling the asylum procedures.

“We strongly refuse the redistribution of migrants and we also refuse the quotas,” Babis told CTK, adding that the EU must solve illegal migration in a systemic manner.

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According to EU sources, Germany sent out the new proposal for the voluntary acceptance of migrants from the Mediterranean region with a note saying “a suggestion for thought.”

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Germany claims that the current asylum system, known as Dublin, is in need of a significant revision that would include the EU’s European Asylum Support Office (EUAA) in a crucial capacity.

According to the European Commission’s proposal, the EUAA should be formed on the basis of the current asylum office. It should help border countries with the initial registration of migrants at the EU’s outer border.

Germany said the initial registration should take several weeks at most.

“Before they step on EU territory, the EUAA will select which country will be responsible for processing their asylum application, as well as for the final decision on whether the applicant is to receive protection,” Germany said in the four-page proposal it sent to other EU member countries.

The European Commission filed a lawsuit against the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland last year for their refusal to join the previous system.

According to the statement of the Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the EU, the three countries did not fulfil the duties ensuing from EU law when rejecting the migrant quotas.

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The EU’s auditors released a report in November, saying the previous system failed not only because of the opposition from some member countries, but also because of the inability of the institutions of the border countries to secure enough migrants that would fulfil the requirements for their redistribution.

The member countries, except for the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland, committed to accepting 98,256 migrants. The initial plan was to redistribute 160,000 migrants and in the end, the countries redistributed only 34,705 people.

The new proposal issued by Germany will be presented for a wider discussion among the interior ministers of EU member countries at their meeting in Brussels next week.

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