Wednesday

30th Sep 2020

Juncker: Don’t mix up terrorists and refugees

  • Mourners at one of the sites in Paris where terrorists opened fire on Friday evening (Photo: Eric Maurice)

The attackers in Paris and Middle East refugees should not be mixed up, warned EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker on Sunday (15 November).

He also called on member states not to reject people who are fleeing from the same terror that shocked the French capital on Friday night.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"We should not mix the different categories of people coming to Europe," Juncker told a news conference in Antalya, Turkey, where a G20 summit of world leaders is taking place.

“Those who organised these attacks and those that perpetrated them are exactly those that the refugees are fleeing and not the opposite,” he said.

“The one responsible for the attacks in Paris ... he is a criminal and not a refugee and not an asylum seeker,” Juncker added, saying there is no reason for Europe to change its refugee policy.

The attacks late on Friday which killed 129 people reinforced concerns of some Europeans about taking in Muslim refugees fleeing war and poverty from mostly Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

According to media reports, one of the terrorists had entered the EU via Greece with a Syrian passport. This was confirmed by Greek authorities, but other reports said the passport was fake.

The events are already fuelling EU debate on how to handle the massive arrivals of migrants and refugees.

In the wake of the attacks, Poland's new Europe minister, Konrad Szymanski said Saturday that his government did not agree with Poland's earlier commitment to accept its share of an EU-wide relocation of refugees, and now, “in the face of the tragic acts in Paris, we do not see the political possibilities to implement [this].”

Slovak prime minister Robert Fico, whose country is to challenge the refugees relocation plan in court, said Saturday: “We have been saying that there are enormous security risks linked to migration. Hopefully, some people will open their eyes now.”

Under the deal, Poland agreed to take in 4,500 refugees. Slovakia rejected the plan.

However, Juncker warned that EU leaders should not jump to conclusions, and said there is no need to change the bloc’s plan to relocate 160,000 refugees from Italy and Greece - the countries where most people enter the EU - to other member states.

"I would invite those in Europe who try to change the migration agenda we adopted. I would like to remind them to be serious about this and not to give in to these basic reactions which I do not like,” Juncker said.

Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel also stood by her open-arms policy after the attacks, despite growing political pressure from her coalition allies in recent weeks to seal the border.

Germany is a favorite destination of refugees, of whom over 800,000 are expected this year.

Fresh criticism came from Merkel’s Bavarian allies following the Paris attacks.

“The days of uncontrolled immigration and illegal entry can't continue just like that. Paris changes everything,” Bavarian finance minister Markus Soeder told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

Meanwhile, leaders of EU institutions expressed sympathy with France in a statement on Saturday, saying the attack “is an attack against us all.”

They pledged that “everything that can be done at European level to make France safe will be done,” and called on Europeans to join in one minute of silence in memory of the victims at noon on Monday.

In Paris under shock, all feel attacked

In the wake of the terror attacks that killed at least 129 people Friday, Parisians pay homage to the dead and, 10 months after the January killings, wonder what will come next.

Greece relocates first asylum seekers

30 Syrians and Iraqis flew from Greece to Luxembourg on Wednesday morning. The total number of relocated asylum seekers in the EU is now 116.

Interview

EU refugee crisis: the morality, stupid!

"If a person is dying next to you, do you go back and ask an economist whether it pays to be good or not?" Tomas Sedlacek asks.

News in Brief

  1. Spanish court defenestrates Catalan leader
  2. Report: EU helped Taiwan on name dispute
  3. Belarusian writer goes to Germany for treatment
  4. Rapid Covid-19 tests for developing world imminent
  5. Dutch advised against 'non-essential' travel to Belgium
  6. Covid-19 hit Roma community hard, report finds
  7. Merkel visited Navalny in Berlin hospital
  8. EU's new raw materials strategy 'threatens' climate action

Opinion

On toppling statues

The internationally-acclaimed author of King Leopold's Ghost, Adam Hochschild, writes on Belgium's problems with statues, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  3. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID-19 halts the 72nd Session of the Nordic Council in Iceland
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCivil society a key player in integration
  6. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular

Latest News

  1. EU tries to avoid lockdowns as global death toll reaches 1m
  2. Reports: Turkey sent Syrian fighters to Azerbaijan
  3. German presidency tries to end EU's rule-of-law battle
  4. 'Sponsored returns' may shuffle failed asylum seekers around EU
  5. German wins election to be mayor of Romania's third city
  6. Minsk on the edge means whole Eastern Partnership is at risk
  7. Caucasus warfare prompts EU alarm
  8. Summit reloaded and last Brexit round This WEEK

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  2. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  4. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  6. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us