bne IntelliNews -
The Czech Republic plans to accept 1,500 refugees by 2017 as its contribution to the resettlement of 60,000 asylum seekers across the EU, Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Belobradek said late on July 8.
Speaking after a night time government meeting, Belobradek said the country of 10mn is ready to take in 400 migrants this year, another 700 in 2016, and 400 the following year. Around 1,100 will come from Italy and Greece, with the remainder from camps outside the EU.
This will be a one-off act of solidarity, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said, adding that the country wants the right of veto in choosing which refugees it will accept should there be any security risk linked to some.
The Czech Republic was due to accept 1,850 asylum seekers over the next two years under the European Commission’s initial plan that would have imposed mandatory quotas on member states. Brussels is seeking to relocate tens of thousands of migrants who have arrived in Italy and Greece after fleeing war and persecution mostly in the Middle East and Africa.
The plan, however, was met with furious opposition from around Europe. Central European countries were among the fiercest critics, despite hosting a minimal amount of refugees that make it to the EU each year.
As a result, the European Council decided on June 25 to make the plan voluntary. It hopes to redistribute 40,000 migrants from within the EU, with a further 20,000 to come from camps outside the bloc. EU interior ministers are expected to finalise the scheme by the end of July.
CEE countries have slashed the numbers they say they will accept. The Czech offer looks relatively generous compared with the likes of Latvia. Targetted to host 737 refugees originally, the country of 2mn said it will now accept 250. Although the Baltic region is struggling with a chronic demographic crisis, Lithuania is reportedly prepared to take in just 370 and Estonia 200 migrants.
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