As countries across Europe observe a minute’s silence for the 129 people killed in the brutal attack on Paris, the president of the European Commission has issued a stark warning to member states seeking to use the tragedy claimed by Isis as a reason to question their intake of refugees – many of whom are fleeing the same militants operating in their home countries.
Speaking at a news conference at the G20 summit in Turkey, Jean Claude Juncker said: “We should not mix the different categories of people coming to Europe.
“Those who organised these attacks and those that perpetrated them are exactly those that the refugees are fleeing and not the opposite,” he said.
Right-wing European politicians have highlighted the discovery of a Syrian passport near the body of one of the suicide bombers and that the holder of the document, Ahmed Almuhamed, had entered the EU in a group of 69 refugees after their boat sank off the Greek Island of Leros last month as a cause for concern.
But intelligence sources have thrown doubt on whether the passport was real or not, while French officials have stated there is no proof that the bomber himself was Mr Almuhamed.
Mr Juncker made it clear that “the one responsible for the attacks in Paris… he is a criminal and not a refugee and not an asylum seeker,” and told those seeking to change the migration agenda that has already been adopted in Europe not to “give in” to these basic reactions following Friday night’s attack.
More than 800,000 refugees and asylum seekers are expected to have entered Germany this year alone, mostly fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa, while in September European members agreed to a plan to see 120,000 refugees resettled from Italy and Greece across the 28-nation bloc.
In Poland, the new ruling party has been quick to voice its opposition to taking in its previously agreed quota of refugees since the Paris attacks, which stood at 4,500, and has demanded security guarantees before accepting people into the country.
“In the wake of the tragic events in Paris, Poland doesn’t see the political possibilities to implement a decision on the relocation of refugees,” Konrad Szymanski, Poland’s incoming European affairs minister, was quoted as saying on Saturday on the Wpolityce.pl website, according to Bloomberg.
“The attacks mean there’s a need for an even deeper revision of the European policy regarding the migrant crisis.”
Slovakia rejected the refugee plan and the country’s prime minister Robert Fico said on Saturday: “We have been saying that there are enormous security risks linked to migration. Hopefully, some people will open their eyes now,” EU Observer reports.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has come under pressure from her Bavarian allies to reverse her “open-door” refugee policy, citing the tragedies in Paris as a need for tougher measures to control the influx of migrants.
“The days of uncontrolled immigration and illegal entry can’t continue just like that. Paris changes everything,” Bavarian Finance Minister Markus Soeder told Welt am Sonntag newspaper a day after Merkel’s sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) party called for stricter controls at Europe’s external borders.
“The CSU stands behind the chancellor, but it would be good if Angela Merkel acknowledged that the opening of the border for an unlimited period of time was a mistake,” he added.
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