10 million refugees may flood EU if it fails to secure borders – Czech president
Zeman, known for his fierce anti-immigration stance, once again blasted Brussels for its migration guidelines in an interview with the Prague-based Barrandov TV channel Thursday.
“If the European Union does not reach the courage to strengthen its external borders, for which it constantly chatters but does nothing, we will have 10 million refugees [from Africa] in the course of several years,” Zeman stated.
He said further that the influx of refugees from Muslim countries poses a threat to European culture.
"The culture of these refugees is not compatible with European culture, which is what immigrants themselves understand," he said. Zeman sarcastically agreed with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini's position that Islam has a place in European culture, saying, that Islam definitely belongs there because of the war with the Ottoman empire.
The Czech president has consistently been opposed to accepting refugees in Europe. He said the “massive migration from African and other countries represents a brain drain.” Instead of taking them in, Zeman suggested the EU provide financial aid to the states refugees are coming from.
Anti-immigration sentiments are apparently rising in the Czech Republic, as right-wing and Eurosceptic parties led the country’s parliamentary elections in October last year. In 2016, Zeman called to deport all economic migrants, saying there is “a strong connection between the wave of migrants and the wave of jihadis.”
The Czech Republic is not alone in rejecting some EU policies concerning migrants, with Hungary and Poland expressing similar objections. The EU-ordered quotas obliging the bloc’s member-states to accept the Brussels-mandated number of refugees has been the major point of contention.
In December, together with Hungary and Poland, Prague refused to contribute to the mandatory resettlement quotas amid pressure from the European Commission, with the trio defiantly stating that its ready to fight Brussels in court. Czech PM Andrej Babis said “quotas are nonsense and only encourage the popularity of extremist parties in Europe.”