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Czech Interior Ministry anticipates up to 7 000 to enter illegally next year

13.7.2015 22:17
Milan Chovanec, Czech Interior Minister, on an anti-immigrant demonstration held in Prague in 2015:
Milan Chovanec, Czech Interior Minister, on an anti-immigrant demonstration held in Prague in 2015: "Gallows have no place in a democracy, the police, as an organ of a democratic state, must be aware of that." (Collage:

The Czech Interior Ministry anticipates that next year anywhere between 5 000 and 7 000 immigrants will enter the country illegally. This year approximately 3 500 such entries are expected total.

Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (Czech Social Democratic Party) informed journalists of the estimates after today's cabinet session. The Government decided today that the Interior Ministry will receive more than CZK 230 million in additional funding this year to address the impacts of this refugee crisis.  

The Interior Ministry imagines that its financing should rise next year by more than CZK 1 billion in order to increase the number of ministerial bureaucrats and police officers by approximately 800 staffers. The Government also approved opening detention facilities for refugees in the municipalities of Vyšní Lhoty (Moravian-Silesian Region) and Balková (Plzeň Region).  

The capacity for detaining foreign nationals in the Bělá pod Bezdězem facility will also be expanded. Chovanec says a total of 550 beds will be added.  

Meetings with the mayors of Balková and Vyšní Lhoty have yet to be held. The minister says it is essential that the current detention capacity for illegal migrants, which is around 120 beds, be increased.  

"Our detention capacity is filling up dramatically simply because the flow of immigration is getting stronger," he noted. The new capacity is needed within the next few weeks.

The current detention facilities may reach capacity within days. Chovanec asked the Government today to increase that budget by CZK 250 million this year and CZK 1.1 billion next year.

The cabinet compromised on CZK 234 million for 2015 and has taken the request for next year under advisement so far. They will meet to discuss it in August.

"The compromise involves the hiring of new police officers being delayed by one month. That's logical because we would not be able to recruit them that rapidly anyway," Chovanec said.

Approximately 600 new police officers will be hired. Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) told the press conference that he views the current migration crisis as Europe's biggest problem.  

Babiš said he believes the EU is demonstrating just as much incompetence when it comes to resolving migration inflows as it has when it comes to Greece's financial problems. He believes the EU probably needs to close the Schengen area and apply systematic measures to stem the influx.

Chovanec said the Interior Ministry needs more money to set up an additional 900 beds and 250 apartments for the integration of legal migrants. "We are asking not just for an increase in the number of people with respect to our work with refugees, but also in the number of police officers so we can open police stations in the vicinity of these facilities," he said prior to today's cabinet session.

The Interior Ministry currently operates four asylum facilities with a capacity of roughly 700 places, including intake and residential centers in Prague, Zastávka u Brna, Kostelec nad Orlicí and Havířov. It also runs the detention facility in Bělá pod Bezdězem.

Two more facilities are slated to open. Last week the Government decided to officially receive 1 500 refugees by 2017.

Of those, 400 refugees will be received this year. Chovanec said he will use information from the secret services of the Czech Republic and other countries when choosing whom to grant asylum to, including interviews with the refugees as part of the proceedings.  

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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