Czechs do not rule out legal action against permanent migrant quotas

Migrants are accompanied by Czech police officers at Macedonian Greek border near Gevgelija, Macedonia, February 19, 2016. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilvovski

PRAGUE (Reuters) - The Czech Republic cannot rule out legal action if the European Union tries to put in place any permanent quota system for distributing asylum seekers, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Sunday. The country was one of four central and eastern European states to oppose an EU quota scheme approved by member states last year to distribute 120,000 asylum seekers. Now the European Commission wants a permanent re-distribution system in place. The Czech leader said he thought it was unlikely the bloc would approve a permanent quota plan. "I expect the line of opposition will be wider (against permanent quotas)," Sobotka said on a Sunday debate show. "Let us talk about legal action against the proposal when it is necessary," he added. The Czechs swiftly rejected the idea of compulsory quotas when they were included in the European Commission's proposed strengthening of the bloc's common asylum rules this month. Sobotka reiterated it was important that a permanent quota system is not included in the reform. (Reporting by Petra Vodstrcilova; Writing by Jason Hovet; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)