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September 20, 2018 12:00 am | FILED UNDER: europe

Babis Disappointed By EU Migration Talks Turns To Africa

By ČTK Andrej Babis

Salzburg, Austria, Sept 20 (CTK special correspondents) – Prague backs the plan to hold a summit of the EU and African states as debated by the participants in the EU informal summit in Salzburg last night, Czech PM Andrej Babis said today, but voiced disappointment at the course of the debate on migration.

 

He said some politicians insist on the redistribution of illegal migrants flowing to Europe, while the Czech Republic does not want to accept any.

 

“The debate tended to state that we will come to terms with the arrivals of illegal migrants on boats and their redistribution [across Europe], which, of course, means an invitation addressed to the people-smugglers,” Babis said, referring to the EU countries’ leaders debate during a working dinner last night.

 

In stating this, the discussion has in fact returned to the situation from a few years ago, when the EU members were sharply split on their approach to the acceptance of migrants, Babis said.

 

In the Salzburg discussion, a proposal for a direct redistribution of migrants was promoted by Italian PM Giuseppe Conte, whose anti-immigration cabinet is trying to achieve the EU’s solidarity for Italy as a country overburdened with immigrants.

 

On Wednesday, European Council head Donald Tusk called on EU countries’ leaders to stop lashing out at each other over migration because the number of incoming migrants has been declining and in many countries, the issue tends to markedly influence voters’ preferences.

 

Babis assessed as positive the summit’s debate on the need to invest more money in the regions of North Africa, from where most migrants have been flowing to Europe.

 

“A wonderful idea of a summit with African states was tabled. The debate mentioned the need to appreciate Egypt’s role in stemming illegal migration,” Babis said.

 

Nevertheless, more concrete solutions are necessary to fight the people-smugglers who bring migrants from Africa, he said.

 

In this connection, he explained Prague’s approach to the planned reinforcement of the Frontex agency, which he criticised earlier this week.

 

He said he does not challenge its planned reinforcement from a few hundred to 10,000 officers, but Brussels should specify how Frontex will operate in coordination with the EU member states.

 

“If an emergency situation occurred, Frontex would be called in, as a kind of Europe’s reserve police, I understand this,” Babis said, adding that the issue needs a further discussion.

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