Czech President Miloš Zeman has warned the European Union (EU) that unless the bloc fortifies its external borders, up to 10 million Africans will illegally migrate to the continent in the next few years.
Giving his weekly address on the Prague television station Barradov, President Zeman said: “If the European Union does not [gain] 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 the [coming] years.”
Noting that a high number of migrants coming from Africa and the Middle East are Muslim, the president added that the migrants’ culture “is not compatible with European culture, which is what immigrants themselves understand”.
The Czech Republic, along with other Visegrád nations Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia, have resisted the EU’s forced redistribution of migrants after German Chancellor Angela Merkel unilaterally suspended the bloc’s refugee rules and invited more than a million people from the Middle East and Africa to migrate to Europe in 2015.
Zeman has previously said that “the integration of the Muslim community is practically impossible” in Europe and called the migrant crisis an “organised invasion” in his 2015 Christmas address to the Czech Republic.
The anti-mass migration president is running for reelection in January and is expected to make it through the first round of votes on Friday and Saturday. The polling firm STEM puts Zeman of the centre-left Party of Civic Rights (SPO) nearly 20 points ahead, at 46 per cent, of the next candidate former president of the Czech Academy of Sciences Jiří Drahoš.
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However, the Prague Daily Monitor reports that Zeman may lose in the second round of voting on the 26th and 27th of January if he is in a run-off with Drahoš, with STEM finding the independent candidate would defeat the incumbent 48 per cent against 42 per cent. Around 10 per cent of Czechs are still undecided.
Drahoš, unlike Zeman, opposes a Czech referendum on EU membership and criticised Zeman for appointing populist, anti-mass migration Andrej Babiš as prime minister after Babiš came first in parliamentary elections in October.
At the height of the migrant crisis in August 2015, Drahoš was a prominent signatory of the ‘anti-Islamophobia’ Scientists Against Fear and Hatred petition.
Speaking to Reuters in December, the challenger said if he were to win the second round, he would watch for attempts in the Czech Republic that deviate from the ‘standard democratic path’.
“I would be a professional, but I would be on guard, because a government leaning on undemocratic parties creates a concern at least that our democracy could be in danger,” he said, in a veiled reference to Babiš’s ANO (“Yes”) party and other parties with populist, anti-mass migration, anti-EU leanings.