Sunday

22nd Oct 2017

Czech Republic advocates use of army to protect borders

  • A Belgian ship during Frontex's Operation Triton in the Mediterranean. Czech president wants more military boats. (Photo: Frontex)

The EU could better protect itself from migrants if it had a common army, Czech president Milos Zeman said Tuesday (25 August), while the Czech finance minister, Andrej Babis, called for the closure of the Schengen area's external borders and for Nato help.

Speaking to Czech ambassadors at Prague castle, Zeman regretted that Frontex, the EU border-control agency, has only three unarmed ships and a few armed ships to patrol the Mediterranean.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

“The EU's fundamental lack is a lack of will for a common border protection”, Zeman said.

"Today, a common European army would come in handy" to address the issue, he added.

Collective action

Czech authorities recently floated the idea of using the army to secure the country's borders.

“The defence ministry is ready to allocate a maximum of 2,600 soldiers in case of further requests from the police”, defence minister Martin Stropnicky said on Friday.

The Czech republic is is on the way between Hungary, where more than 100,000 migrants have arrived so far this year, and Germany, their main destination.

It is itself expecting up to 7,000 asylum seekers next year, according to a defence ministry report revealed by the CTK press agency earlier this month.

Interior minister Milan Chovanec said he would seek about €40 million of extra spending next year to face migrant arrivals.

On Tuesday, the Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka also called on Europe to take collective action to protect Schengen area's external borders, especially in Italy, Greece, and Macedonia.

"The migrant crisis is a pan-European problem. It is a challenge that we cannot run away from. There is now a great deal at stake. Among others the future of the Schengen border-free zone”, he said.

Giant camp

His finance minister, businessman Andrej Babis, went further and asked for Nato help.

"The question is whether Macedonian or Bulgarian armies don't need Nato help”, he told reporters, pointing to the fact that, Greece, their neighbour, is isolated from the rest of the Schengen area.

On Tuesday, Bulgaria announced it was sending 25 soldiers and armoured vehicles to help monitor the four border-crossings with Macedonia.

Babis also said that Schengen's external border should be "immediately" closed and called on the EU to warn migrants' countries of origin that it would take no more.

"It must say: You cannot come to us to be unemployed and take immediately social benefits”, he said.

He added the EU should create a giant camp where economic migrants would be sorted from people in need of protection, especially women and children.

In an interview to Austrian radio O1, Austrian chancellor Werner Faymann criticised the Czech government, and also Poland and Baltic states, for refusing European quotas of refugees.

"How would you want to make [frontline countries] protect external borders if they think that hundreds of thousands of migrants will stay there, while the others [like the Czech republic] continue to wait and discuss calmly?”, Faymann asked.

"It is necessary to solve these things simultaneously, one influences the other”.

EU to spend €2.4bn on migrant schemes

The EU executive approved programmes for border management and treatment of asylum application in 19 member states for the 2014-2020 period.

Opinion

Visegrad members must stick together

Informal coalitions are becoming more important in EU politics, the Czech EU affairs minister says, as V4 leaders meet in Prague on immigration.

UN: Czechs violate refugee rights to deter others

The United Nations has condemned the poor treatment of asylum seekers in the Czech Republic and says the government encourages human rights violations to deter others from arriving.

EU seeks to shut down Libya sea route

EU leaders are aiming to reach a consensus on the Dublin asylum reforms by early next year, announced European Council chief Donald Tusk. But first, they want to shut down the Central Mediterranean route from Libya.

MEPs: EU migrant quotas do have a future

The EU Parliament's lead negotiator on the Dublin rule, a key asylum regulation that has sparked a political clash among EU states, is now demanding for an automatic and permanent relocation scheme.

News in Brief

  1. Rajoy to trigger Article 155 on Saturday in Catalan crisis
  2. EU conducts unannounced inspection of German car firm
  3. Lithuania calls for new EU energy laws
  4. EU leaders aim for December for defence cooperation
  5. Juncker says hands tied on Russia pipeline
  6. Czechs set to elect billionaire Andrej Babis
  7. Italian regions hold referendums on more autonomy
  8. EU leaders refuse to mediate Catalonia conflict

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Jinping Proposes Stronger Global Security Governance at Interpol Assembly
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaEU Engagement Could Contribute to Lasting Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh
  3. UNICEFViolence in Myanmar Driving 12,000 Rohingya Refugee Children Into Bangladesh Every Week
  4. European Jewish CongressBulgaria Applauded for Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
  5. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  6. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  8. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  9. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  10. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  11. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  12. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!

Latest News

  1. The mysterious German behind Orban's Russian deals
  2. Mogherini urged to do more on Russian propaganda
  3. Turkey funding cuts signal EU mood shift
  4. Posted workers top EU agenda This Week
  5. Leaders lobby to host EU agencies at summit's margins
  6. Legal tweak could extend EU control on Russia pipeline
  7. Ukraine language law does not harm minorities
  8. EU begins preparations for Brexit trade talks