Protect Europe like Asterix's village, says Czech PM


Prague (AFP)

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis on Saturday compared Europe to "the village of Asterix and Obelix", saying its frontiers must be defended from migrants.

Babis, who is known for his anti-migrant stance, made the comments while visiting a museum in Prague with French President Emmanuel Macron.

"The Czech Republic has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe," he said. "All those who come have a work permit. One must have the same system in Europe."

Babis met German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday and both agreed on the need to focus on economic development in Africa to try to slow migration into the European Union.

The Czech Republic and fellow eastern EU states Hungary, Poland and Slovakia have rejected a German-backed EU plan to introduce a mandatory quota system to distribute migrants and refugees across the bloc, following the 2015 migrant crisis.

"I have always said it's like the Gaulish village of Asterix and Obelix," the billionaire turned premier said, referring to the beloved cartoon characters who resist Roman occupation in 50 BC. "We have to defend Europe at its natural frontiers.

"We are ready to step up our efforts of solidarity. We are sending soldiers, police, money and we will increase our role."