Austrian Chancellor criticizes Czech Republic for rejecting EU quotas on refugee reception
Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann criticized the Czech Republic, the Baltic countries and Poland for rejecting redistribution quotas for refugees within the European Union. Speaking on the "Morgenjournal" program on radio station Ö1, Faymann declared that without quotas it will be impossible to stabilize the situation on the EU's external borders which are being crossed by thousands of refugees primarily from Africa and the Middle East, but Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka has a different opinion on the matter.
"Countries like the Czech Republic, but others as well, Poland, the Baltic countries, don't want binding quotas. That must be criticised, because without binding quotas we cannot make progress," said Faymann, who believes the problem with how the refugee crisis is being handled does not lie with the European Commission, but with the states of Central and Eastern Europe.
"The Czech Republic believes quotas for migrants will not aid in stabilizing the situation. The only solution is ending the war in Libya and Syria, and EU pressure and that of the entire international community must concentrate on that," Sobotka wrote to the Czech News Agency in an SMS text message.
The Czech PM also believes it is necessary to arrange for the protection of the EU's external borders and a functioning return policy for people who are not granted asylum in the EU. "The Czech Republic is behaving responsibly, we have joined the EU's solidarity project and within the framework of that project we are prepared to gradually receive 1 500 refugees," he said.
The Austrian Chancellor believes the countries on the EU's external border will have no reason to beef up border controls as long as refugee redistribution quotas do not exist. "How do you plan to influence them to protect that external border if they believe hundreds of thousands [of refugees] will now be remaining on their territories while the other Member States are enjoying calm? These matters must be addressed concurrently, one influences the other," Faymann said.
Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec tweeted that Austria and Germany attract refugees through their generous welfare systems and that their neighboring countries' incompetence is not to blame. "Let's talk about fierce public defense of the EU borders instead of playing hot potato with our neighbors," he wrote.
Chovanec believes mandatory quotas will not solve anything. He also said the Czech Republic will not change its mind on the issue.
Czech Republic like a prison
Yesterday the German daily Frankfurter Rundschau reported that the Czech authorities are detaining refugees behind barbed wire even though the Czech courts and NGOs consider it a violation of international law. The paper also noted that migrants, many of whom do not know the Czech Republic at all and just perceive it as yet another country to pass through en route to their dreamed-of destinations, are not visibly welcomed by the country.
One of the biggest detention centers in the Czech Republic is the facility at Bělá pod Bezdězem, where currently approximately 500 people are awaiting decisions on their fates from the Czech authorities. "The camp is surrounded by a fence four meters high topped with barbed wire. The refugees must hand over their mobile telephones and other valuables, and the state uses their confiscated cash to cover the costs of their involuntary stay there. Private security guards patrol the interior while police patrol the exterior," the daily describes the situation.
Frankfurter Rundschau also writes that while journalists are officially unable to access the facility, they did manage to speak with the refugees there. One Pakistani man who had been traveling half a year before being detained told journalists he had been there for 30 days and there was not enough food at the center.
Czech NGOs are criticizing the accommodation center because families and minors are being held there. They also do not like the fact that people cannot freely come and go from the center because they are all automatically assumed to pose a "flight risk".
Human rights organizations say that across-the-board assumption contravenes the Czech Republic's international obligations because the so-called Dublin system, the EU's asylum mechanism, requires that each person be individually assessed with respect to flight risk. The paper also notes that the Czech courts share the opinion that the refugees are being illegally detained and have sided with asylum seekers and ordered their release, but only a very few people have chosen to defend themselves through the courts.
- Council of Europe: Rejecting refugees on religious basis is pure discrimination
- Macedonia announces state of emergency over refugees
- Czech online discussions of refugees are full of hatred
- Czech NGO: We either rescue refugees from hell or they will die
- Austria bans hidden Islamist and Nazi codes on license plates
- EU interior ministers offer 8 000 fewer places than needed for refugee redistribution
- Hungary: Demonstration against fence on Serbian border says "Jesus was a refugee too"
- Germany: Arsonists set another refugee facility on fire, shooting also reported
- Czech Republic: HateFree Culture project refutes online hoaxes about refugees
- Greece needs urgent aid with refugees at risk of going hungry in camps
- Czech Justice Ministry offers unused building with 580 beds for refugees
- EU-28 ministers have not yet reached full agreement on refugee redistribution
- Czech Republic: Hooligans physically attack customer of café supporting refugees in Brno
- Most Czechs agree with accepting refugees from war
- UK tabloid columnist calls African refugees "cockroaches"
- Council of Europe: Refugees and violence against Romani people are current problems
- Czech PM wants to increase aid to refugees after 900 drown near Italy, EU convenes extraordinary summit
- Czech customs officials detain 15 Syrian refugees at Rozvadov
- German minister says arsonists of refugee facilities are "cowardly and repulsive"
- Austria: Former Czech Foreign Minister warns of racism
- Austrian court convicts seven men of neo-Nazi activity
- Austrian authorities halt investigation into alcohol labels with images of Hitler
- Right-wing extremist incidents rose by one-third in Austria last year
- Austrian Police arrest operator of Nazi propaganda website housed on US server
- British MPs reject Brexit agreement - what now for the EU citizens of Roma origin there?
- EU analysis finds main target of pro-Kremlin disinformation last year was Ukraine
- Eastern Slovakia: Four stories that defy anti-Roma stereotypes
- Austrian Parliament expands ban on extremist symbols to include Islamist emblems, domestic ultra-right symbols not banned
- Fifteen anti-racist and Roma NGOs call on EU countries to commit to updating their Romani Integration Strategies after 2020
- How were Romani members of the Czechoslovak Legionnaires rewarded for their service?
- Hungarian Supreme Court says camerawoman who kicked asylum-seekers committed misdemeanor and can no longer be prosecuted
- Slovak Foreign Minister expresses gratitude to the EU for peace and security, warns against hateful ideologies
- Czechoslovak Legionnaires on the Italian front - Romani fighters and their sad fates
- EU Justice Commissioner kicks up her heels in Brussels after Romani theater performance from the Czech Republic
- Germany: More than 200 000 people protest discrimination, neo-Nazism and racism
- Czech PM says Government not satisfied with pace at which EU funds are being drawn