The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, says Tuesday's vote to introduce quotas of asylum seekers in European Union states will not resolve the refugee crisis. Mr. Sobotka said that the decision had been a bad one and that the Czech Republic would do everything in its powers to prevent the system coming into effect. The leaders of the parties in the Czech coalition government are to discuss what action to take at a meeting on Wednesday.
The Czech Republic has been defeated in a European Union vote on the allocation of set numbers of migrants to individual states. Europe's interior ministers pushed the quota system through in a qualified majority vote on Tuesday. The Czech minister of the interior, Milan Chovanec, described the vote as an empty and ineffective political gesture. The only other states to vote against the plan to spread 120,000 refugees around Europe were Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. The Czech Republic, which had long pushed for a voluntary system, will take in almost 3,000 refugees in the next two years.
President Miloš Zeman says Czech soldiers should guard the borders of their own country rather than trying to deal with the refugee crisis abroad. The head of state was reacting to a recent statement by the country’s minister of defence, Martin Stropnický, who said thousands of Czech soldiers could be deployed to provide assistance at refugee camps in states near Syria. Mr. Zeman said reservists could assist professional soldiers in guarding the borders of the Czech Republic.
A Prague court has ruled that three men wanted on terrorism charges in the USA can be extradited to that country. Ali Fayad, Faouzi Jaber and Khaled Marabi immediately filed an action against the ruling, which will now return to the Czech Supreme Court. The three were arrested in Prague in 2014 and charged with terrorism after trying to sell weapons and cocaine to US agents who passed themselves off as members of Colombia’s FARC.
Two more victims of an explosion that occurred at an arms factory in Central Bohemia on Monday have been discovered, a fire service spokesperson said on Tuesday. This brings the number of deaths at the Sellier and Bellot factory in Vlašim to three. The company, which produces powder used for making arms, has an almost 200-year tradition in the town.
President Miloš Zeman says the director of the presidential security unit, Petr Dongres, should be dismissed. He made the comments days after an incident in which the art group Ztohoven replaced the presidential flag over Prague Castle with a gigantic pair of red boxer shorts in protest at Mr. Zeman’s policies and behaviour. Speaking on a visit to Ostrava on Tuesday, Mr. Zeman said other personnel changes could also be expected. Mr. Dongres is due to discuss the weekend’s incident with Police President Tomáš Tuhý on Thursday. A number of people have been charged with disorderly conduct in connection with the protest.
Even if the European Union decides on a system allocating set numbers of migrants to individual states it will not work in reality, the Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, said in Prague on Tuesday. He made the comment just before the Czech minister of the interior, Milan Chovanec, left for Brussels for a crunch meeting on the subject with his EU counterparts. Mr. Sobotka said there was no legal mechanism that would allow for such a quota system. On Monday Prague issued a legal analysis questioning various aspects of the proposal. The Czech Republic is one of a number of EU states that insist refugees must be taken in on a voluntary basis.
The 2015 Jaroslav Seifert Prize is to be bestowed on the writer Eugen Brikcius. The jury chose Mr. Brikcius, who is 75, on the basis of his collection A tělo se stalo slovem (And the Body Became). The poet, prose author, playwright and journalist will receive the prize, and a cheque for CZK 100,000, at a ceremony at the Prague Mayor’s Residence in November. The prestigious literary award was first given to authors in exile during the communist era.
Fourteen people were injured, two of them seriously, in an explosion at a sugar factory and distillery at Dobrovice in Central Bohemia on Tuesday morning, a spokesperson for the regional rescue services said. The local mayor said the explosion had occurred during maintenance work at the distillery. Firefighters quickly brought the situation under control and said there was no threat of further danger.
EU interior ministers meeting Tuesday are likely to outvote the Czech Republic and other Central European states and impose mandatory quotas on countries to accept immigrants, Czech Radio and the Czech News Agency reported citing a high placed source. Foreign ministers of the Visegrad 4 together with Luxembourg and Latvia met in Prague Monday to search for a compromise on the issue. The Luxembourg foreign minister said afterwards that he better understood their position but there was no talk of a breakthrough. The Czech government is sticking to its stand against quotas and prepared an analysis arguing that they are illegal. An emergency meeting of EU heads of state on the immigrant crisis takes place on Wednesday.