Speeches

9. 9. 2015 13:16

Europe must translate its migration crisis management plans into specific action fast

I am glad that the European Commission, in the proposals it has published today on how to handle the migration crisis, has shifted the focus away from enforcing mandatory quotas, prioritising instead long-term and systemic solutions to the serious problem of irregular immigration. Mandatory quotas are not a good way forward, and ongoing debates on their implementation merely hold the whole of Europe back from taking genuinely essential and necessary steps.

EU rules need to be followed strictly and Member States must proceed in harmony and in one direction.

The Czech Republic remains poised to intervene actively, just as it has in past crises of this nature. The Czech Government believes that more rigorous Schengen border protection, the rapid establishment of hotspots on the Schengen area’s external borders, the definition of safe countries, and effective asylum and return policies are particularly important. We also stand ready to loosen the purse strings in order to help refugees, and are prepared to dispatch experts and police officers for the running of hotspots.

I believe it is absolutely essential to designate an end to military conflict in Syria and Libya as a categorical priority of EU foreign policy and to provide focused assistance from EU Member States to the countries from which people are migrating.

These are frontline priorities in addressing the migration crisis, espoused not only by the Czech Republic, but by all countries from the Visegrad Group, as is evident from the joint statement and conditions arising from extraordinary V4 summit held on migration in Prague last week.

I am convinced that Europe is not in need of new plans on how to tackle the migration crisis. What we need is to get up from our negotiating tables and take action, to work in earnest on those measures which we have approved jointly with other EU leaders and on which we have reached a consensus in previous months. This should be the key task of the European Commission and all other EU Member States.

Bohuslav Sobotka, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic

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