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Czech PM says migration must be addressed beyond Europe's borders

15.6.2018 15:44
Czech PM Andrej Babiš (PHOTO: Government of the Czech Republic)
Czech PM Andrej Babiš (PHOTO: Government of the Czech Republic)

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) said on 11 June that he believes Frontex, the EU's border and coast guard, should be given a mandate to intervene beyond EU borders. The statement was issued as a press release ahead of the 12 June meeting of the European Commission about the financing to cope with the current migration crisis.

Frontex employs a staff of 1 200 and the Czech PM said that in effect it was just a "couple of boats" pulling people from the sea. He believes it is necessary to combat human traffickers in order to cope with the migration crisis.

"In the future form of the migration policy, it is absolutely crucial, for the Czech Republic, that the protection of the EU's external border be beefed up. We consider Frontex a support force, the main responsibility must rest with the Member States," the PM said.

"Frontex's mandate must be adapted. It can't just be a couple of boats pulling drowning people from the sea. We will not stop migration that way. The EU and Frontex must act beyond Europe," Babiš said.

The Czech PM said the current situation around the Aquarius boat in the Mediterranean Sea, with 600 refugees on board, demonstrates that it is impossible to solve the situation at sea. "We must combat smugglers' groups and organized crime so the sailing of boats full of economic migrants does not happen. At the same time we must arrange for people who are actually in need and fleeing conflict or persecution to have the opportunity to apply for asylum outside of Europe," the press release states.

The Aquarius took migrants rescued from several different vessels on board and was then denied permission to dock by both Italy and Malta. Spain eventually decided to receive the boat.

Representatives of the European Commission spoke at the beginning of May about significantly bolstering Frontex so that it would have a staff of 10 000 by 2027. The Commission is also counting on financing combating illegal immigration and returning immigrants to their countries of origin.

On 12 June the Commission was scheduled to discuss and introduce the concrete details about the funds that are to aid the EU in coping with the migration crisis after 2020. Already now it is clear that during the next multiyear financial framework of the EU from 2021 to 2027 there will be more than twice as much funding allocated for measures connected to this crisis than has been available to the existing seven-year budgeting period.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Andrej Babiš, EU, Italy, Immigration, Spain



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