Czech deputy PM Andrej Babis said his country did not want to end up like Germany
Controversial Andrej Babis insisted it would be Prague, and not Jean-Claude Juncker, which would decide who entered his country as he railed against “incapable and ineffective” eurocrats.
He vowed the Eastern European country would continue its opposition to Brussels imposed migrant quotas and said richer member states should not complain because they benefit from cheap Czech labour.
In an extraordinary interview likely to enrage EU leaders the firebrand politician claimed that countries like Germany and Sweden, which have taken in large numbers of refugees, are facing “serious” social issues as a result.
And he voiced fears in Prague that if it agrees to accept a small number of asylum seekers now, eurocrats will try to increase that number in the future to alleviate political pressure over migration which is growing elsewhere.
Donald Trump's deputy Mike Pence was in Brussels for talks with eurocrats today
Germany has taken in over a million refugees
In a dynamite interview he told EurActiv Poland: “We want our companies to choose foreign workers when we want, not when Jean-Claude Juncker will tell us to.
“Helping Germany is one thing. The other is deciding about the quota system. That’s what has completely divided the EU.
“There can be solidarity, but if we have control. Because one day we agree on the number of refugees, and the next day 15 or 20 thousand more will come at our doorstep.”
He went on: “You can’t agree with amounts that can’t work. We can put a nice show about solidarity but take a look at the Germany or Sweden today.
“What is happening with emigrants there? It’s a serious issue. We have thousands of non-registered people that threaten our citizens.”
One day we agree on the number of refugees, and the next day 15 or 20 thousand more will come at our doorstep
Czech deputy PM Andrej Babis
Mr Babis said that Europe is facing a “very different” type of migration to in the past, when smaller number of newcomers were more easily able to integrate with the general population.
And he made an astonishing call for a fortress Europe where migrants are kept out at the frontiers of the EU – a concept he dubbed an “Asterix village” after the famous French comic book series.
He said: “Inside everything is functioning smoothly, which benefits the free movement of goods, services, people and capital, there are no discrimination and barriers.
“Asterix village cannot just allow for anyone just fishing for a better life, it is not enough for that. Asterix village is only open for those who are ready to contribute to the common welfare and should be able to choose its inhabitants accordingly.”
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Mr Babis' proposal would almost certainly breach international law on the treatment of refugees, and is likely to be greated with scorn by other EU leaders who have called on the bloc to honour its commitments to asylum seekers.
To achieve it the Czech second-in-command, who has been dubbed Europe’s Donald Trump, said Brussels would have to liaise with the new US President and Vladimir Putin to stop the war in Syria.
He also launched a blistering attack on other EU politicians when challenged over his stance, and faced with the accusation that a lack of “solidarity” over migration had caused the bloc’s problems in the first place.
Mr Babis raged: “Europe is not us. Europe is politicians who were elected by the people. And they are not capable. And Europe doesn’t have a common foreign policy – that’s why it’s not effective.”
He was speaking less than a week after MEPs in the European Parliament approved plans by Brussels to beef up checks on all people both entering and leaving the continent’s external borders.