Photo, above: Czechia Interior Minister Milan Chovanec, left, has pulled his country out of the EU migrant scheme
Common sense is prevailing in central Europe with Czechia, aka the Czech Republic now announcing that is joining Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia in denying entry to migrants.
The populist wave across the continent appears to be alive and well despite election losses by Geert Wilders in the Netherlands and Marine Le Pen in France.
BRUSSELS was facing a fresh crisis over its shambolic migrant quotas today as the Czech Republic became the latest member state to announce it will refuse to take in any refugees under the scheme.
The migrant quota scheme has become a major political embarrassment for Brussels.
In a strongly worded riposte Prague attacked the “dysfunctionality” of the EU’s flagship migration policy and said it would not take part due to concerns over terrorism.The announcement is another brutal body blow for the EU Commission, which is desperately trying to keep the beleaguered system afloat by fighting its own member states through the courts.
So far Poland, Hungary and Slovakia have all refused to accept refugees under the migrant quota programme, citing security concerns and an unacceptable encroachment on their sovereignty. Czechia had been highly critical of the policy but up until this point had not physically pulled out of it, instead preferring to use bureaucratic processes to stall the arrival of new migrants.
Prague has taken in just a dozen out of the 2,691 migrants which Brussels order it to in its quota, defying repeated calls by eurocrats to speed up the rate at which it processed people.And today ministers in the Central European state announced their intention to go one step further, saying it would now be shutting the border completely to transfers from Italy and Greece.Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said: “Due to the aggravated security situation and the dysfunctionality of the whole system, the government approved a proposal to halt this system for Czechia.”That means Czechia will not be asking for migrants to be relocated from Greece and Italy.”
The migrant quota scheme has been an unmitigated disaster for eurocrats, prompting fierce infighting within the bloc at the same time as it is trying to show solidarity over Brexit.Of the 160,000 places earmarked in other countries for asylum seekers in Italy and Greece just 28,963 have been made available, according to the latest statistics.In reality a paltry 20,000 people have actually been relocated to date out of that target, with the troubled scheme’s legal mandate set to end in September.And unsurprisingly it is France and Germany who have taken in by far the most people, with the rest of the bloc’s member states accepting a miserly 11,000 migrants between them.
The EU Commission has already said it will decide in June whether or not to take legal action against countries failing to take their share of refugees, although any action could take years to conclude.Mr Chovanec said Czechia would vigorously defend its sovereignty and right not to adhere to the quotas if it is dragged before the European Court of Justice by eurocrats.The move by ministers in Prague is being seen, in part, as a move by the Government to shore up its position ahead of a General Election which is set to be held in October.Immigration is a sensitive topic amongst Czech voters, with opinion polls showing that most are actively opposed to their country taking in more people from Muslim majority countries.