Czech PM faces criticism for 'Syrian orphans' remarks

Why should we be accepting any Syrian orphans when we must take care of our own, says Andrej Babis in newspaper interview

Czech PM faces criticism for 'Syrian orphans' remarks

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis faces criticism over his remarks on Syrian orphans in a newspaper interview published on Saturday.

Babis was quoted as saying in the interview published in Pravo newspaper: "Why should we be accepting any Syrian orphans? There are orphans even in the Czech Republic and we must take care of those. Why should we be taking care of Syrian orphans, of all people?"

The interview was also published on website, with the headline "Babis: The Czech Republic will not accept a single refugee".

Czech Interior Minister and acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Hamacek criticized Babis on Twitter, saying: "Surely, as a 10-million-strong country, we could manage to offer a new home to 50 children who lost their parents in Syria."

Hamacek also reminded that the Czech Republic donated more than 200 million Czech Koronas ($9.1 million) to buy patrol vessels for the Libyan Coast Guard.

Babis, in the interview, said he had proposed a way to fight migration in the European Union and "found 75 billion euros in the European budget proposal".

"We need to give more money to Greece, Italy, Malta and Spain for border control, to solve the Schengen area and the situation in Libya; we must conclude agreements with North Africa with Turkey and prepare the Marshall Plan for Africa and Syria," he said.