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Andrej Babis (far right) with Visegrad leaders at the European Council, 2017. Wikipedia

Czech PM: ‘We decide who comes to the country’

The Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis has criticized the migration policies of Western European countries.

Published: September 23, 2019, 1:08 pm

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    “For us, migration is not understood as a means of countering a shrinking population, as in Western Europe,” he told German daily Die Welt.

    In his country, women have an average of 1,7 children. According to Babis: “We want to get the Czechs to have more children.” When heckled by the reporter that it was “not very climate-friendly” to set public incentives for more children, Babis countered: “I have four children. Then I’m probably harmful to the climate.”

    In Germany there are now even some climate activists who measure everything in carbon dioxide and would therefore prefer to ban child-bearing.

    Anyone who wishes to immigrate to the Czech Republic is invited by the government, Babis explained. “We welcome foreigners, more than five percent of our population is born abroad, but we are the ones who decide who comes here and who does not,” Babis underscored. “We choose the people, no one else, not the EU, and certainly not smugglers.”

    Babis has rejected illegal immigrants, those welcomed by many EU states.

    Earlier, Babis had suggested an asylum policy based on the Australian model to the EU. “If the Australians can do that, why not Europe too?” he said in an interview with Bild newspaper last year. Asylum seekers in his opinion should await the outcome of their proceedings at hotspots outside the EU. “If migrants get into a dinghy somewhere in Libya, it’s too late,” he warned.

    For the future, one has to find a mechanism “in which a certain number of asylum seekers are invited directly by the government of a country”.

    The Italian authorities have meanwhile once again allowed a ship belonging to the rescue organisation SOS Méditerranée to enter a port and bring in African migrants. They allowed the Ocean Viking with currently 182 people on board to dock in Messina in Sicily. “We are relieved that Italy opens a port for people rescued from the Mediterranean for the second time in a week,” the organisation wrote on Twitter.

    SOS Méditerranée operates the ship together with the French NGO MSF. Already last Tuesday, the Ocean Viking brought 82 migrants to Lampedusa. Former Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini (Lega) sharply criticised the new government’s decision.

    On Monday, the interior ministers of Germany, France, Italy and Malta will meet representatives of the EU Commission and Finland, which currently holds the EU Presidency. At the meeting in Malta, they want to discuss a distribution mechanism for migrants in the EU.

    Last week, German Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) received criticism for his proposal to take in every fourth migrant rescued in the Mediterranean in Germany. The CDU chairman of Thuringia and top candidate of his party for the state election on October 27, Mike Mohring, warned against creating such “incentive systems”.

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