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Migrants, PM Babis. Photo supplied

Czech president says support for Hungary is vital

The Czech Republic should show support for Hungary in its dispute with the European Union, not only because it is a close ally, but because the Czechs themselves may one day find themselves in a similar position, President Milos Zeman warned.

Published: September 22, 2018, 1:13 pm

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    Prague

    In an interview for commercial TV Barrandov on Thursday, the Czech head of state criticised the European Parliament’s decision to launch a legal procedure against Hungary over its alleged “breach of core EU values”.

    Heads of governments from Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia also dismissed the European Commission’s proposal to advance Frontex – the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.

    The three Visegrad states have called Frontex “obsolete”. The fourth Visegrad country, Poland, hosts the headquarters of Frontex in Warsaw.

    Juncker, the president of the Commission, wants to increase funding for the agency, but during a joint session of the Czech and Slovak governments on September 17, the prime ministers of both countries said EU funds should be allocated to individual member states struggling with migrants, such as Malta, Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal.

    Zeman pointed out that Hungary was defending itself against pressures to conform and the other countries of the Visegrad group – the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia – could easily find themselves in a similar situation.

    Meanwhile, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis is facing trouble at home. A proposal has been put forward at an EU summit in Salzburg for the Czech Republic to take in 50 Syrian orphans to break their anti-immigration policy in a “humanitarian gesture”.

    The “unaccompanied child migrants” are currently living in an overcrowded refugee camp in Greece, Radio Praha reported.

    Whatever the outcome of this emotionally-charged case, the Czech prime minister faces a strong public backlash if he allows the Syrian refugees. According to a recent poll conducted by the CVVM agency, more than two-thirds of Czechs still reject the idea of admitting migrants from the Middle East and North African states.

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