The Malta Independent 19 November 2018, Monday

Quotas, obligatory migrant sharing not acceptable solution – Czech PM

Albert Galea Tuesday, 28 August 2018, 19:19 Last update: about 4 months ago

The obligatory sharing of migrants or the drawing of quotas is not an acceptable solution to the migration crisis, Andrej Babiš, the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic said after meeting Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in a state visit on Tuesday.

He said that instead a 'global' and 'systematic' solution to the problem was needed, one that would help the countries where migrants are coming from.  He acknowledged the budgetary issues of having to run a system of security around the Mediterranean Sea, but said that nonetheless a solution for migration has to be a priority.

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Minister for Internal Affairs Michael Farrugia, who has been at the forefront of the migration crisis for Malta, has time and time again advocated a solution for the migration crisis involving the mandatory burden sharing of immigrants across all EU states.

Babiš said that he was concerned about Europe and called for discussions about the Schengen agreement, through which free movement around the continent is allowed.  He said that a 'Marshall Plan' for Africa is needed, and that it was in this manner that the issue could be solved like it has been in Syria.

The Czech Republic has not taken part in any of the recent ad-hoc agreements brokered to redistribute several groups of migrants which have arrived in Malta.  Asked if this meant that his country was not showing solidarity to countries like Malta, Babiš said that this is not the case as they have participated financially and in the provision of manpower in places like Turkey and the Sahel, whilst also taking in a number of people fleeing the conflicts in the Ukraine. 

On his part, Joseph Muscat said that he appreciated the outreach shown by the Czech Republic to discuss the matter of migration. 

Whilst underlining that the EU is taking a lot of action to solve the migration crisis and pointing out that for the first time the Libyan coastguard is working as intended and doing positive work in fighting human traffickers, Muscat said that there was no one solution for this matter.

He said that there are solutions such as border control and funding other states, but called for appreciation on the fact that Malta is not a landlocked country and cannot leave people to die in the Mediterranean Sea.  He also said that there was the need to enact safe passages for all those genuine asylum seekers fleeing warzones.

Describing the discussion as 'interesting' and 'lively', Muscat said that aside from migration, the multi annual financial framework of the European Union was also discussed.  He said that there were a number of converging points and other diverging points as well, but at the same time he appreciated the no frills approach wherein the views on the issues were shared straight away and in a concise manner.

Muscat emphasised his belief in dialogue when faced with differences such as those on migration between the two countries, saying that he was totally against having an EU which was made up of enclaves of different countries.

Babiš arrived in Malta to meet Muscat on Tuesday afternoon, with the current migration crisis on the agenda of the meeting. This was after he spent Tuesday morning in Rome discussing the same migration issue with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

Babiš is a known hard-liner on immigration and he has time and time again reiterated that his country will not accept any migrants from other countries, and that the whole of the European Union should follow the same stance .

He told Czech radio station Radio Praha recently that a solution to stop migration into the EU was needed and that this had to be sought through discussions with countries like Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia about stopping migration at their southern borders.

In the same radio programme he said that the people migrating into the EU were not fleeing from war, but were economic migrants.

Babiš said in the radio interview that the Czech Republic was ready to be the country to draw up this solution.


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