Czech Republic stands firm on rejecting refugee quotas

AFP , Tuesday 22 Sep 2015

Leftist Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Photo:Reuters)

Leftist Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka on Tuesday confirmed that his country would reject fixed refugee quotas proposed by the European Commission amid an escalating migrant crisis.

"I want to confirm that both the interior minister (Milan Chovanec) and myself... will unequivocally reject any effort to introduce a permanent mechanism of refugee redistribution" at EU meetings this week, Sobotka told reporters in Prague.

"We also reject the introduction of quotas," he added.

"It is necessary for EU countries to retain their sovereignty in this matter. It must be the governments who will decide," Sobotka said.

He also hailed other countries such as Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Finland that have come out against the proposed quota system.

"The issue of migrant quotas has become an empty political gesture by now, with some countries trying to save face," Chovanec added before heading to a meeting of EU interior ministers in Brussels scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

"They (quotas) can't work in practice. Even though the large countries may try to out-vote us today, it will be very difficult to fulfil the project."

Sobotka, a lawyer by profession, said no legal tools were available for the implementation of the quota system.

"We have been asking a number of serious questions over the redistribution proposal, and we haven't heard answers," he said.


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