Babis Calls EU Quotas Nonsense – Ready to Fight Lawsuit

Prague, Dec 7 (CTK) – Czech PM-designate Andrej Babis (ANO) wants to negotiate with the EC on the withdrawal of the lawsuit it filed against Prague over the migrant quotas, he told CTK in reaction to the EC’s step today, calling the quotas nonsense that only boosts the popularity of extremist parties in Europe.


Earlier today, the EC announced its decision to sue the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary at the European Court of Justice over their refusal to join the EU system of asylum seekers’ redistribution.


“The decision and mainly its timing is very unfortunate,” said Babis, who was appointed PM on Wednesday and his minority cabinet is to be named on December 13.


He said he hopes that he will have an opportunity to express Prague’s position at the EU summit next week.


As brand-new prime minister, Babis said on Wednesday the Czech Republic should be more active in the EU. That is why he wants to propose a crackdown on people-smugglers as a solution to the migrant problem, he said.


Babis will receive a mandate for his participation in the December 14-15 Brussels summit only on December 13, after his cabinet is appointed.


“The timing is quite unfortunate in view of the domestic political situation in our country,” he said today.


“I do not know details of the agenda, because [in the outgoing cabinet] it was supervised by PM [Bohuslav] Sobotka and [Interior Minister Milan] Chovanec. As far as I know, Mr Chovanec never met the EU commissioner for migration personally in order to negotiate a position for the Czech Republic without [the need for the EC to file] a lawsuit,” Babis said.


Ales Chmelar, Czech state secretary for European affairs, said the EC’s lawsuit was expected.


“This is definitely not a step that would please the Czech Republic, even though we understand that the EC controls the observance of rules,” Chmelar said.


He said Prague has repeatedly warned that the migrant redistribution quotas are no effective solution but work as an incentive encouraging illegal migration.


“The EC’s decision changes nothing in the fact that we can still agree on a conciliatory solution to the issue,” Chmelar said.


He said the Czechs will continue pushing for the EU to tackle the causes of migration, not its consequences.


Czech Deputy Interior Minister Jiri Novacek said the text of the lawsuit is not known because it has not been filed yet. He said the lawsuit was now getting ready as far as he knew.


EC Vice President Frans Timmermans said today the issue was crucial since it was about solidarity and about the EU sticking together at times of crisis. Timmermans said a lawsuit was always the last possibility and the EC was not happy about it.