Czechia only country to ask EU asylum agency for help with Ukrainian refugees

Amid the war in Ukraine, Czechia wants to use its new services. However, as Aktuálně.cz pointed out, the former Czech government did not want to strengthen the EUAA and wanted to vote against the new EUAA mandate in 2021. In the end, Prague did not oppose the plan but abstained together with other CEE countries during the final vote. [EPA-EFE/DUMITRU DORU]

Czechia is the only country from Central and Eastern Europe to have requested help from the EU’s Agency for Asylum (EUAA) to deal with the massive influx of refugees from Ukraine, the EUAA has confirmed.

Since the start of the Russian invasion, 350 000 Ukrainians have arrived in the country.

“Following the crisis plans, the Czech Republic has activated all types of international support, including through the EUAA. Now we are preparing a specific form of this support, especially material support,” Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakušan (STAN, EPP) said Aktuálně.cz, media partner of EURACTIV.cz.

As of January 2022, the EUAA replaced the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and got more powers and budget to support the Member States in asylum and reception procedures.

Amid the war in Ukraine, Czechia wants to use its new services. However, as Aktuálně.cz pointed out, the former Czech government did not want to strengthen the EUAA and wanted to vote against the new EUAA mandate in 2021. In the end, Prague did not oppose the plan but abstained together with other CEE countries during the final vote.

The new Czech Interior Minister left his predecessor’s negative position towards the EUAA without any comment.

Agency experts are expected to arrive in Czechia in the upcoming weeks. Anis Cassar, a spokesman for the agency, said to Aktuálně.cz that EUAA is waiting to sign an agreement with the Czech government, expected to occur in about two weeks. “Then we will be able to arrive in the Czech Republic within a few days,” he confirmed.

He said 25 to 30 experts should arrive and bring the appropriate equipment to process asylum applications. The mission is expected to last about a year.

Cassar confirmed that only the Czech Republic had approached the agency from Central Europe.

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