Published on: Nov 17, 2018 @ 17:07 – Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Friday he proposed building a village for about 150 orphaned children in Syria at a meeting with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker.
“These orphans were born in Syria, they know this and want to stay there. We need to improve their living conditions instead of moving them to Europe,” he said during a TV appearance.
In October the prime minister was criticized in October for refusing to reinstall 50 Syrian children in the Czech Republic after a Czech member of the European Parliament came up with the idea. The criticism was based on the humanitarian dimension.
Thus Babis’ proposal accomplishes numerous practical and political objects simultaneously. He solves the practical problem in an equally humane way, points to the increasingly stable situation in Syria, implicitly reminds the international community that the Czech Republic had no hand in the destruction of Syria, and undermines the western ideology which implies that all people prefer to live in the west rather than a stable and prosperous version of their indigenous homelands.
Babis defended his decision, citing possible integration difficulties and suggested that the Czech authorities help raise Syrian orphans by investing in local infrastructure.
He further stated that the Syrian government supported his proposal and offered to choose any of the schools bombed for that purpose. No information on possible project costs was disclosed.
Last month, the Czech prime minister called for the return to their home countries of hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants currently in Europe, suggesting funds could be spent on a Marshall Plan to help improve African economies.
“There are 700,000 illegal migrants,” Andrej Babis said in an interview with The Guardian newspaper. “They need to go home.”
Babis has long railed against the implementation of EU-imposed migrant quotas, along with the leaders of neighboring Slovakia, Hungary and Poland – collectively known as the Visegrad Group. He has previously labeled the quotas “absurd” and “not effective.”
At the height of the migrant crisis in 2015, approximately two million non-EU citizens were believed to be present in member states. While many of these were refugees fleeing Syria’s devastating civil war, thousands also made the journey as economic migrants from Africa.
While the number of these illegals has now fallen to 618,780, according to 2017 statistics from Eurostat, Babis believes both economic migrants and refugees should return home.
“These people should stay home and we should help them in Africa. The people around Syria… they would like to return home,” he said.
Rather than an expanded budget for the EU’s border agency Frontex, Babis thinks national governments should instead protect their own borders and coastlines.
“Smugglers made €5.7 billion in 2016 and we have to stop it,” he said.