Czech President Miloš Zeman has come out in support of US counterpart Donald Trump’s refugee policy, which has been greeted with outrage across the world. EURACTIV Germany reports.
The Czech Republic’s head of state backed Trump before the November election and has in the past criticised immigration from Muslim countries, even branding the influx of refugees “an organised invasion”.
Following Trump’s controversial refugee ban, Czech presidential spokesman Jiri Ovcacek wrote on Twitter on Saturday (28 January) that “Trump is protecting his country, he’s concerned with the safety of his citizens.”
He added that “the safety of Czech citizens is a priority. Now we have allies in the US”.
On Friday (27 January), Trump signed an executive order that massively curtailed the number of refugees that are eligible to enter the country.
A new list of seven Muslim countries has been drawn up (Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia) and citizens of those nations for the next 90 days will not be allowed into the US. The admission of all refugees has been suspended for the next 120 days.
Zeman appears to be in very lonely company, as European leaders mostly criticised Trump’s policy and denounced the change of tack from the previous administration.
Notably, German Chancellor Angela Merkel had to explain the Geneva Convention to Trump during a phone call, according to a Berlin spokesperson.
However, it took growing unrest in her own party for UK Prime Minister Theresa May to criticise the new president, issuing a statement that insisted it was “a matter for the government of the United States” but that “we do not agree with this kind of approach”.
Much like its Visegrád Four counterparts, the Czech Republic has opposed mandatory relocation of refugees and has voted whenever possible against the European Commission's scheme, which is still yet to be implemented in most EU countries.