Wednesday

14th Nov 2018

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

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

"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. Czechs join other EU states in rejecting UN migration pact
  2. EU Commission to give verdict on Italy budget next week
  3. EU's Tusk is Poland's most trusted politician
  4. Finland prepares to step in for Romania on EU presidency
  5. Trump threatens tariffs on EU wine
  6. US defence chief backs Nato amid 'EU army' calls
  7. Italy defies EU deadline on changing budget
  8. Report: FBI looking into Brexiteers Farage and Banks

Opinion

On Armistice Day, EU is still best gift we can give our children

While young people fought each other in 1918, young people in 2018 travel to study together under the Erasmus programme. But there is a risk of limiting our commemoration to representing the past through just speeches, museum exhibits and visits.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. How the 'EU's Bank' fails to raise the bar on accountability
  2. Knives out on all sides for draft Brexit deal
  3. Romania data chief defends forcing press to reveal sources
  4. EU to review animal welfare strategy
  5. Macron's 'European army': why is everyone talking about it?
  6. Merkel calls for 'real, true' EU army
  7. Italy defiant on budget on eve of EU deadline
  8. EU action on Hungary and Poland drowns in procedure

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us