Tuesday

23rd Jan 2018

Europe's populists link terrorism with refugees

  • France's far-right leader, Marine Le Pen demanded a halt to the influx of refugees (Photo: European Parliament)

Europe’s far-right and populist politicians used the attacks in Paris on Monday (16 November) to call for an immediate halt to the inflow of refugees and to criticise the EU’s migration policy.

Leaders from France to Hungary were making “I told you so” speeches, all referring to the passport found near the body of one of the suicide bombers in the Paris attacks that killed 129 people on Friday.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

French prosecutors said the bomber’s fingerprints matched those recorded in October in Greece, the start of the European migrant route for most refugees.

While European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker warned on Sunday against drawing a link between terrorists and refugees, populist and far-right leaders throughout Europe preyed on the security fears of voters by playing into the uncertainties about the masses who are fleeing war and poverty for Europe.

“We don't think that everyone who comes from there is a terrorist, but we don't know," Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban told the Hungarian parliament Monday.

“No one can say how many terrorists have arrived among the migrants so far, how many are already here, and how many are arriving day by day,” he added.

Orban also used the attacks in Paris to justify erecting fences on Hungary’s Serbian and Croatian borders to stem the flow of people.

Recalling that Hungary has been criticized as inhumane for building them, Orban said: "But the question is: What is more humane? To close the borders to illegal border-crossers or to put the lives of innocent European citizens at risk?"

In Poland, the right-wing government of Prime Minister Beata Szydlo was sworn in after winning an election in which analysts think her Law and Justice Party gained support from its anti-migrant statements.

Giving a flavour of the new government, incoming Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said on state television Sunday that migrants should be organized into an army and sent back to Syria to fight.

"Can you imagine a situation in which we send our troops to fight for Syria, while hundreds of thousands of Syrians sip coffee on Unter den Linden [a boulevard in Berlin] or at the old town square and watch how we fight for their security?" Waszczykowski was quoted by AP.

No to quotas

The new Polish government suggested Warsaw will not take in refugees under the EU relocation plan that would redistribute 160,000 people across Europe from Greece and Italy.

Hungary, which originally would have been a beneficiary of the program, is also fighting the scheme, and parliament could vote an a motion to challenge the plan.

Orban said the relocation plan could lead to terrorism.

"In light of this terror attack, Brussels cannot challenge the right of member states to defend themselves," Orban said. "Mandatory resettlement quotas are dangerous because they would spread terrorism across Europe."

In Germany, thousands joined an anti-Islam, anti-immigrant Pegida movement's rally in Dresden. Although the numbers reached an estimated 9,000-12,000 marchers, the crowd was not as big as the gathering that followed the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris in January.

The demonstrators blamed the Paris attacks on what they see as Europe’s failed immigration policy.

That was echoed to some extent in a shocked France as well.

France’s Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right Front National, called for an "immediate halt" to new arrivals.

Le Pen's party said that its "fears and warnings of the possible presence of jihadists among the migrants entering our country" had been borne out.

Dutch anti-immigration politician Geert Wilders took to Twitter to say to the government: "Will you listen at last: close the borders!"

Sweden to tap Hungary's EU relocation quota

Sweden, which hosts the most asylum seekers per capita, has asked other EU states to relocate some people under a quota originally designed for Hungary.

Macron eyes France-UK border agreement

French president Macron wants the UK to take in more refugees as he revisits the 2003 Le Touquet agreement, which allows British border controls to take place inside French territory.

Magazine

The asylum files: deadlock and dead-ends

The EU is reforming a number of internal asylum laws, but lack of staff, politics, and the sheer complexity of the bills means deadlines - like those announced by EU council chief Tusk - are likely to come and go.

News in Brief

  1. Belgium lowers terror alert level
  2. France, Spain set to gain seats in post-Brexit EU parliament
  3. Orban family probed over 'fraudulent' EU projects
  4. Spanish judge rejects Puigdemont arrest warrant
  5. Austria plans to sue Commission over Hungary's nuclear plant
  6. Puigdemont proposed as sole candidate for Catalan leadership
  7. Abbas in Brussels to discuss Palestinian state recognition
  8. Exiled Catalan leader leaves Belgium for first time

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other EU Border Regions to Work Together to Generate Growth
  4. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  5. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  6. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  7. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  9. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  10. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  12. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted

Latest News

  1. EU stands by Palestine on Jerusalem
  2. MEPs may bar killer robots and drones from EU research cash
  3. Europe's social democrats are having a hard time
  4. How Oettinger's CO2 permit sale could fill Brexit blackhole
  5. New Polish foreign minister tries to charm EU commission
  6. Middle East, Messi and missing MEPs on agenda This WEEK
  7. Instagram and Google Plus join EU anti-hate speech drive
  8. EU wants 'entrepreneurship' in education systems

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressChair of EU Parliament Working Group on Antisemitism Condemns Wave of Attacks
  2. Counter BalanceA New Study Challenges the Infrastructure Mega Corridors Agenda
  3. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  4. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% Plastics Recycling Rate Attainable by 2025 New Study Shows
  5. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  6. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  7. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  8. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  10. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  11. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  12. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap