Czech Interior Minister To Discuss Uptick In Syrian Refugees With Slovak and German Counterparts 

A Hungarian border guard watches Syrian refugees in Budapest train station, September 2015. Photo credit: Jan Beranek / CC BY-SA 3.0.

Prague, Sept 7 (CTK) – Czech Interior Minister Rakusan told the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday that he would meet with his Slovak and German counterparts to discuss the increase in Syrian refugees in Central Europe, which he said is due to more Syrians leaving Turkey.

He said he would update the Chamber after the meeting about any consensus reached on addressing the situation.

Rakusan (STAN) was responding to a question from Radek Vondracek (ANO), former speaker of the Chamber, who asked the government for information on the current situation of irregular migration in the Czech Republic.

“The floodgates to Europe have been opened by Turkey,” said Rakusan.

Up to 95% of the current irregular migrants are refugees from the war in Syria who fled to Turkey and remained there on the basis of Turkey’s agreement with the EU, said Rakusan. The deal has since ceased to hold, he said, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is again allowing Syrians to enter Europe, ahead of the presidential election.

Rakusan also argued that Hungary was to blame for the problem as the country has stopped observing the readmission agreement of reciprocal acceptance of refugees.

On Wednesday, Rakusan is to meet his Slovak counterpart in Brno, and on Monday he will speak with the Bavarian Interior Minister about the agreement on functioning re-admissions.

Noting the German police trade unions’ call for border closure, Rakusan said that Germany does not want to close its border now. 

Rakusan also said he would like to discuss modifications to the asylum law and strengthening of EU external border protection at a meeting of EU Interior Ministers.

Unlike Austria and Germany, the Czech Republic is facing transit migration that has no impact on its security, Rakusan added.

The Interior Ministry has raised the combined capacity of its refugee facilities from 800 to 1,040, and is carrying out random border checks.

Some 50 irregular migrants are detained each day, which Vondracek claimed is a small fraction of the total. Up to 6,000 refugees were heading for Austria daily, Rakusan added.

He also said that in cooperation with Justice Minister Pavel Blazek (ODS) he would submit a proposal to toughen sentences for people smugglers.

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