Polish, Slovak officials put the kibosh on EU refugee plan after Paris attacks

One of the attackers in Paris has been identified as having entered the EU through Greece last month.

November 15, 2015 13:02
2 minute read.

DATE IMPORTED: September 06, 2015 Refugees and migrants sleep on the railway tracks close to the borders of Greece with Macedonia, near the village of Idomeni, September 6, 2015. . (photo credit: REUTERS)

BELEK, Turkey - European Union countries should not give in to base reactions of rejecting refugees after the Paris attacks because the shooters were criminals, not asylum seekers, European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said on Sunday.

Top Polish and Slovak officials have poured cold water on the EU refugee relocation plan right after the attacks late on Friday that killed 129 people, saying the violence underlined the concerns of Europeans about taking in Muslim refugees.

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"We should not mix the different categories of people coming to Europe," Juncker told a news conference on the sidelines of a G20 summit of world leaders in the Turkish coastal province of Antalya.

One of the attackers in Paris has been identified as having entered the EU through the Greek island of Leros on Oct. 3, 2015, with other refugees. On entering, he was identified and fingerprinted according to EU rules.

"The one responsible for the attacks in Paris... he is a criminal and not a refugee and not an asylum seeker," Juncker said.

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

Poland's new Europe minister Konrad Szymanski said on Saturday his incoming government did not agree with Poland's commitment to accept its share of an EU-wide relocation of immigrants, and now, "in the face of the tragic acts in Paris, we do not see the political possibilities to implement (this)."

On Saturday Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said: "We have been saying that there are enormous security risks linked to migration. Hopefully, some people will open their eyes now."

But Juncker said there was no need to change Europe's plan to relocate 160,000 refugees around Europe, as agreed earlier.

"I see the difficulty but I don't see the need to change our general approach," he said.

Donald Tusk, the former Polish prime minister who chairs meetings of European leaders, said the 28-nation EU would call on G20 leaders to develop a coordinated response to the migration crisis, which is expected to bring a million people from the Middle East and Africa to Europe this year alone.

"We do not ask our partners to do more than Europe does, but we ask the international community not to do less. All G20 countries share responsibilities associated with this crisis. Solidarity should be at the core of our decisions," Tusk said.

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