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.
The Malta Independent reports that 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.
The Times said that Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš reiterated his opposition to migrant sharing in the European Union after talks with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in Valletta on Tuesday afternoon. He said that while his country remained ready to help in EU efforts to tackle the migration problem, it was against migrant sharing. “We have shown our solidarity by participating and contributing to a lot of programmes,” Mr Babiš said. The Czech Republic was among the countries which did not take any of the migrants who arrived in Malta over the past few weeks.
Mr Babiš also insisted Europe needed to discuss the Schengen Agreement (which removes border controls among EU countries) because changes needed to be made to “defend the European continent”.
Dr Muscat said the meeting was a “lively and interesting” and he thanked Mr Babiš for being “straightforward” in his approach to the issue.
Dr Muscat said there was no single solution to the migration issue, but various actions, including border control, needed to be considered.
“However, we cannot just erect walls,” he said.
MaltaToday reports that Muscat stressed the need for member states and parties operating in the Mediterranean to abide by the rules and international treatises, noting that migration flows in the central Mediterranean had dropped by 80% over the past year. The Maltese Prime Minister said it was wrong to create a Europe of enclaves and called for a better understanding between European states despite each having their own reality.