Tuesday

16th Jul 2019

Tusk: 'Wave of migrants too big not to be stopped'

  • 'Access to Europe is too easy,' Tusk said. (Photo: Consillium)

The current influx of migrants is "too big not to stop them," European Council president Donald Tusk has said. He proposed that irregular migrants are detained for up to 18 months to check their identity.

In an interview with six European newspapers, Tusk said there is "no majority" in Europe for plans to relocate asylum seekers and that the priority should be the protection of Schengen's external borders.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The scheme to relocate 160,000 refugees from Italy and Greece has been pushed by Tusk's EU Commission counterpart, Jean-Claude Juncker, and by Germany's Angela Merkel. So far, just a few dozen people have been relocated.

"I am convinced there is no majority in the EU for such a system," Tusk said, adding that "this time, central Europe is not the only problem."

"Let's avoid hypocrisy: it is not a question of international solidarity anymore, but a problem of European capacities. Europeans would be less reluctant if the EU's external border was really under control," he said.

"Today access to Europe is, simply speaking, too easy,” he added.

Tusk, who chairs the summits of EU leaders, asked them to "change [their] mindset" and covertly took on Merkel.

"Some [leaders] say the wave of migrants is too big to stop them. That is dangerous," he said.

"This wave of migrants is too big not to stop them," he said, adding that nobody is ready "to absorb these high numbers, Germany included."

Effective controls

He noted that debate on migration has slipped out of the hands of "politicians or intellectuals or commentators" and has gone "really public because the fear and uncertainty is so genuine.”

He also reiterated that the key is border control.

"Every country must respect and apply the Schengen Borders Code, including the rule that asylum requests be filed in the country of arrival, for example Greece, and not somewhere else," Tusk said.

"It is often said that we must be open to Syrian refugees. But these are only 30 percent of the inflow. Seventy percent are economic migrants. Also for this reason we need more effective controls," Tusk noted.

Controls are not only a matter of stemming the flow, but also a question of security, he said, floating the idea that the EU should be ready to retain illegal migrants as long as it can to check them.

"If you want to screen migrants and refugees, you need more time than only one minute to fingerprint," he noted, adding that international and European law allow up to 18 months "for the screening we need.”

EU agrees on Schengen checks for all

EU "collective reaction must be ruthless," said French minister, as controls are to be stepped up for migrants and EU nationals.

EU court: Denmark's family-reunification law 'unjustified'

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg has delivered a blow to Denmark's strict family-reunification laws. The ruling will likely cause headaches for its new left-leaning government given its stance on immigration, and opens up 8,000 pending cases.

News in Brief

  1. Ansip's ex-cabinet chief to head EU cybersecurity agency
  2. Malta starts trial of journalist murder suspects
  3. Full text of von der Leyen candidacy speech to MEPs
  4. Von der Leyen open to further Brexit delay
  5. Von der Leyen promises carbon border tax
  6. Brexit: both UK PM candidates say Irish backstop is 'dead'
  7. Mogherini: Iran's nuclear enrichment 'reversible'
  8. Report: Selmayr to leave 'next week'

EU guilty of Libya migrant 'tragedy', ICC lawsuit says

EU states' efforts to "deter" migrants from Libya have helped kill more than 14,000 people and exposed 40,000 others to "crimes against humanity", according to a lawsuit filed in The Hague on Monday.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. European Commission has first ever woman president
  2. Son: Malta trial for murdered journalist 'not enough'
  3. Von der Leyen's final appeal to secure top EU post
  4. EU talks tough on Turkey, but arms sales go on
  5. The Abortion Exodus - more Poles and Croats going abroad
  6. Poland's ex-PM loses EU parliament chair again
  7. Von der Leyen reaches out to left and liberal MEPs
  8. Farmers among new MEPs deciding on EU farming money

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us