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29. 6. 2018 20:10

EU leaders have reached a breakthrough agreement on migration: mandatory refugee relocation is a thing of the past

At the European Council in June, Heads of State and Prime Ministers of the EU countries reached a key agreement on further approach to EU migration policy. The leaders of the Member States, including Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, have decided that refugee centres in Member States are to decide quickly whether to grant asylum or return the illegal migrants to their countries of origin and that the taking of migrants from these centres will be voluntary. The European Council also agreed to prepare a proposal to set up detention centres outside Europe. This means the end of mandatory refugee relocation scheme, which the Czech Republic has long opposed.

“We have achieved tremendous success. The scheme, which has been debated for nearly four years, is now a thing of the past. Europe will start working on setting up centres outside the EU to decide on the right to asylum. At the same time, we will continue to fight against smugglers. It is a breakthrough agreement within the EU, where the Visegrad Group has managed to include items we have long fought for”, said Prime Minister Andrej Babiš after the meeting.

The EU leaders also agreed that reforms of the European asylum system must be achieved by consensus, i.e. that the situation where the Czech Republic was outvoted on the relocation scheme will not happen again. European statesmen have also agreed on stepping up the fight against smugglers.

In addition to migration, the European Council also addressed taxation on the first day of its meeting. In this connection, the Czech Prime Minister succeeded in including in the final agreement a call for urgent adoption of measures to improve VAT collection. “Reverse charge is my long-term priority. Due to carousel VAT fraud, we lose billions every year. Thanks to reverse charge, we will be able to prevent it”, said the Czech Prime Minister after the meeting.

European leaders also addressed trade policy and the EU-US customs duty situation. The EU-28 also adopted conclusions on defence policy and the digital agenda. Before the European Council, on Thursday afternoon, French President Macron met with the Prime Ministers of the V4 countries.

On the second day of the summit, EU leaders will meet in the EU-27 format to discuss the Brexit developments; this will be followed by the euro-area summit, which will be attended by the Czech Republic as an observer, represented by Prime Minister Babiš.


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