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Migrants; Andrej Babis

Czech leader warns that migrant quotas could fuel rise of anti-EU parties

The European Union will fuel the rise of anti-EU parties in Eastern states if they are forced to take in migrants against their will, the designated Czech Prime Minister has warned.

Published: December 11, 2017, 10:30 am

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    Andrej Babis, a billionaire recently elected by popular vote, cautioned the bloc that by forcing Czechs to take in migrants against their will, could fuel a rise of anti-EU “extremists” in the country.

    Speaking in an interview to the Pravo daily paper, Babis warned: “The European Commission can withdraw the charge at any moment. We have to negotiate on this and to offer different models, like guarding the borders or help to other countries. But we don’t want any refugees”.

    The Czechs have refused to shelter their quota of asylum-seekers imposed by Brussels.

    Babis, whose government is due to be appointed by President Milos Zeman on December 13, will represent his country a day later at the EU summit, where European leaders will discuss the immigration crisis.

    He said the EU’s move would embolden “extremist elements” if the persist. “The EU has to understand, that if it won’t listen to our proposals, then the influence of extremist parties like (Germany’s) AfD or (Czech) SPD will grow, whose strategy actually is to destroy the EU.”

    Despite his ANO party winning the parliamentary election by a landslide in October, it is unclear whether Babis will be able to win a confidence vote for his government by mid-January as required by the constitution, as he faces the threat of prosecution related to his business interests.

    As the country’s oldest ever premier at 63, Babis has made little progress over the past six weeks in persuading mainstream parties to join him in government because of outstanding charges against him for alleged EU subsidy fraud.

    The case is still under investigation by the EU’s anti-fraud watchdog Olaf.

    The anti-EU and anti-NATO SPD party and the Communists have lent support to Babis’ party in several initial votes in parliament in return for committee posts for their members, suggesting that the parties may have come to some kind of backroom agreement to support ANO.

    Babis was sworn in as prime minister on December 6, but it looks as if the billionaire will have to rely on communists and conservatives to maintain his single-party government’s hold on power.

    But Babis dismissed the suggestion in the Pravo interview and said there was no deal in place and he would talk to all parties to either back the cabinet or abstain from the vote to help ANO win. His party has 78 seats in the 200-member parliament, the Communists have 15 and the Freedom and Direct Democracy party (SPD) of Tomio Okamura has 22.

    The EU’s executive will be suing Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic in the European Court Of Justice (ECJ) to host asylum-seekers, Brussels said on Thursday.

    The three countries are being accused of “non-compliance with they legal obligations on relocation” by the European Commission.

    The ECJ could impose heavy fines, even though the case may take many years to conclude.

    Babis told a news conference after his appointment. “Quotas are not a solution, and the solution is outside Europe, and we have to win over other member states for this.”

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