Immigration: Canada punishes Czechs

14 July 2009
Hospodářské Noviny

, 1 January 1970

The headline on the front page of Hospodářské Noviny reads "Canada introduces visas for Czechs." In defence of his decision, the Canadian Minister for Citizenship and Immigration has said that "the Czech Republic is now the second top source country for refugee claims, after Mexico." Initially, the Ministry in Ottawa had emphasized the fact that most of the asylum claimants were Roma who felt they were subject to discrimination in the Czech Republic, an assertion that drew protests from Prague. The requirement for visas will apply from 15 July. "In view of the obligation for solidarity between EU member states, the affair will likely be settled with the intervention of the Union," reports the business daily. "In previous negotiations with Ottawa, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso voiced support for arguments presented by the Czech Republic, and there is a possibility that Canada's position may prompt a countermeasure that will impose a visa requirement on Canadians wishing to travel to the EU. If the European Union fails to defend the interests of the Czech Republic, and does not oppose Canada's decision, the Czech government may choose to take the case to the European Court of Justice."