Czech’s withdrawal from EU would jeopardize country’s future – PM
PRAGUE (Sputnik): The Czech Republic’s withdrawal from the European Union would jeopardize the country’s future, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Monday.
“We are a strong element of the West, we are EU embers and NATO allies, and no one can call it into question. If anyone here talks about Czexit [the Czech Republic’s withdrawal from the European Union], he jeopardizes the future of our country by doing this,” Babis told Czech ambassadors to foreign countries, as broadcast by Czech TV channels.
He went on to say that 83 percent of Czech export accounted for the EU countries, Czech gross national product had grown by 37 percent over the 14 years of the country’s EU membership, while EU had also provided the Czech Republic around 700 billion korunas (around $31.5 billion) of financial aid.
According to Babis, while the Czech government often criticizes the European Union in order to protect its national interests, this does not mean that Czech policy is anti-European.
“The European Union should return its initial message. This means, a safe and economically successful continent, backed by the domestic market,” Babis said.
He added that the European Union should tackle the migration problem by reaching an agreement with non-member states also involved in the issue. He went on to emphasize that the Czech government strongly opposed the idea of a mandatory quota of refugees that every EU state has to accept.
“If I say that I don’t want to accept a single migrant, then this is a definite and quite a clear symbol,” Babis said.
While the Czech Republic joined the European Union in 2004, it has been critical of the institution in the past years over its unwillingness to comply with the relocation quota system, introduced in 2015. In June 2016, Czech President Milos Zeman called on the country’s government to follow the UK example and host a referendum on withdrawal from the European Union and NATO, which the Czech government refused to do.