*August 30 2016 update: Last week, Czech Republic took in 8 migrant quotas from Greece, which seems to run counter to Sobotka tough talk while Merkel visited. Minister Chovanec did say they would not take any quotas from Turkey “THIS YEAR”. But what about next year, “after the elections” of 2016? You be the judge.*
I have never considered Bohuslav Sobotka, the bookish PM of CzechRepublic, to be a strong leader. In my mind, he has always been the weak link of the Visegrad4 group. There is something unnatural about a man who wants his party to move leftward, “Bernie Sanders style”, in a county that has suffered in the past under the heavy burden of communism and state power. Sobotka always seemed uncomfortable and awkward around the other V4 leaders from Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary; he appears more at home with Frans Timmermans and Jean Claude-Juncker in Brussels.
Sobotka views himself as an enlightened technocrat whose goal is to integrate his country into the collective security and western ways of the EU. He has always been somewhat in awe of Angela Merkel and heavily influenced by Berlin. His top advisor is former PM Vladimir Spidla, who served the EU for six years and tends to be Germany’s lobbyist in the CzechRepublic.
But Sobotka is the PM of a country that wants no part of Muslim multiculturalism or the lifestyle of Western Europe. He has had to balance his internal belief in Merkel’s policies against his countries overwhelming rejection of that vision. So far he has managed to appease both, but this is about to change.
Sobotka talked tough to appeal to Czechs by voting against the first EU refugee quota scheme, but unlike Slovakia and Hungary, he failed to challenge the forced diktats. He surrendered, which is the type of token opposition that Merkel craves. But the EU will not stop at a one time redistribution scheme; they are coming for more. Sobotka, under heavy criticism for the Turkey-Visa Deal, already “promised” that the CzechRepublic would not accept any “new quotas” other than the ones already agreed to under the first scheme. But now, the EU is threatening to push forward a new permanent and ongoing refugee redistribution mechanism that will fine nations $250,000 per every migrant rejected. Sobotka has already promised no more; we will see if he keeps his word.
Why is Sobotka accepting forced refugee quotas at all? Consider the first thirty migrants sent to the Czech republic from Italy and Greece: Twenty were rejected by the Czechs because they did not pass security checks and six simply disappeared. It is well-documented Greece and Italy simply waved-through refugees without identification, possessing fake passports, and with little vetting. Sending twenty migrants to the Czech republic who were security risks was simply bad faith and negligence on the part of Italy and Greece. This was simply unacceptable and could have exposed the safety and security of Czech citizens. Sobotka should have immediately protested and ceased to continue the program in order to safeguard his own country; instead, he bowed down to the demands of the EU.
This week, Sobotka announced that the Czech republic is set to receive another 88 migrant quotas straight from Erdogan’s Turkey. This is a nonsense. Islamic jihadists have used Turkey and the refugee routes to mix in with the migrants. Sobotka should not expose Czechs to this type of risk. Trusting Turkey is a dangerous experiment. Erdogan has become increasingly brazen and combative as he continues to blackmail the EU, threatening to unleash the migrants on Europe if he does not get his many demands. Taking more Syrian refugees straight from Turkey at this time will only invite more of the same vile behavior from Erdogan.
Moreover, Sobotka should have clearly sent Brussels a message that their proposal to fine nations, like the Czech Republic, obscene amounts of money for refusing new refugee quotas was both insulting and heavy-handed. Again, Sobotka should have informed the EU that their attempted extortion and petty vengeance was not worthy of his country’s cooperation; therefore, the Czech Republic would not tolerate another Munich-like diktat and would accept no more refugees until the leaders in Brussels adjusted their attitude. This was his chance to stand up to Merkel for the best interests of his country; instead he simply layed down.
The next 6-12 months will be critical for the EU and the V4. The migrant flow will increase again in Italy and elsewhere. This cannot continue. Something will have to give. Merkel Vision is tearing Europe apart. The V4 must boldly reintroduce their PlanB. This bold plan relies on strict limits, not forced quotas, and secures the EU border before the migrants are let in. This way, asylum claims could be processed outside the EU and the migrants sent home immediately.
Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland are poised to answer the bell for their countries to fight to save the culture and way of life of Central/Eastern Europe. The question for Sobotka: Are you the PM of the Czech Republic, ready to confront Merkel, or are you a Yes-Man for Brussels, ready to sacrifice your people for the false solidarity of the EU? You cannot be both.