Leading Czech political figures consider Thursday’s EU Court of Justice verdict regarding migrant quotas “irrelevant”.
The court concluded that the Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary failed to fulfill their obligations under EU law after refusing to accept a portion of the 160,000 migrants the EU was looking to distribute among member states following the 2015 migrant crisis.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš considers it essential that the Czech Republic will not be obliged to accept any asylum seekers in the EU, and that the quota system has expired in the meantime. According to him, it is irrelevant that the three Visegrad countries did not win the court case.
“We lost the dispute, but that is not important. What is important is that we do not have to pay something. Usually, the court claims some compensation for the proceedings,” said Babiš.
“The point is that we will not accept any migrants and that the quotas have expired in the meantime, especially thanks to us,” added the prime minister.
Also, according to Interior Minister Jan Hamáček, the ECJ’s ruling is not significant since the situation has changed.
“The court’s decision responds to events that happened a few years ago. I’m taking the verdict into account but without any further consequences,” Hamáček said.
Marian Jurečka, leader of the People’s Party (KDU-ČSL), stressed that the court did not take into account other measures the Czech Republic contributed to help solve the migration crisis. For example, the country was active supporting refugee camps and offered military aid in the fight against ISIS.
“The Czech Republic definitely tried show solidarity and help resolve the situation, while not endangering its own security,” Jurečka added.
Alexandr Vondra, vice chairman of the opposition Civic Democrats (ODS), also commented on the symbolism of the ECJ’s verdict and the absurdity of quotas.
“We have always argued that the quota system for redistributing migrants is wrong. The EU also withdrew from it, which is something the ECJ’s rulings cannot change. With the verdict, the EU just wants to save face, but I see no way how to put the ruling into practice,” Vondra said