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Czech Foreign Minister welcomes falling asylum applications in Canada
12-07-2009 - Chris Johnstone

Photo : European Commission Czech Foreign Minister welcomes falling asylum applications in Canada Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout said on Sunday that a fall in the number of asylum applications by Czechs in Canada could help stave off the threat that Ottawa will reintroduce visas. Mr Kohout said that applications had fallen in recent weeks. “It is a very positive signal which Canada is also taking into account,” he said in a tv interview on Sunday.

Canada is reported to be on the verge of reintroducing visa requirements for Czechs because of the surge in applications for asylum, largely from the Czech Roma community. While not ruling out a comeback for visas, Mr Kohout said it should not happen in the next days. He said other procedures such as electronic registration or stepped up airport controls could help avoid such a step. Mr Kohout added that he expected the EU to impose visas requirements on Canada in reply to any move against the Czech Republic. If this did not happen, Prague would lodge a complaint with the European Court of Justice for lack of solidarity, he said.

Czechs lodged 1,720 applications for asylum since the start of the year according to figures from the Canadian embassy in Prague. The newspaper Dnes reported on Saturday suggested that many Roma who left for Canada now wanted to return.



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