Migrants could end Europe as we know it, French PM says

From the UK Express

By Greg Heffer

The French prime minister today warned Europe can’t risk ‘destabilising’ itself by accepting every refugee leaving Syria and Iraq - as he warned those migrants who aren’t genuinely fleeing conflicts will be sent home.

Manuel Valls claimed the ongoing migrant crisis had put political union on the continent in “very grave danger” as he urged EU leaders to send a message that Europe “will not welcome all the refugees”.

Speaking at the Davos summit of world leaders and businesses in Switzerland, Mr Valls explained how a message from European politicians would be “shared on smartphones in the refugee camps of Libya” in a matter of “seconds”.

But the French politician refused to criticise Angela Merkel for initially welcoming every Syrian refugee into the EU, adding the German chancellor had “courage” to “welcome refugees in the name of values”.

French PM Manuel Valls said Europe couldn't accept every refugee.

French PM Manuel Valls said Europe couldn't accept every refugee.

More than one million people arrived on Europe’s shores by boat alone last year, with many more of those fleeing war and persecution across North Africa and the Middle East flowing into the EU across its land borders.

European politicians have so far failed to cope with the influx, with a controversial Brussels scheme for each EU member state to take a ‘quota’ of refugees having led to the resettlement of little more than 300 asylum seekers so far.

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Valls said: “We cannot say or accept that all refugees, anyone fleeing the terrible war in Iraq or Syria can be welcomed in Europe.”

The French PM said a “solution” was needed to end Syria’s brutal civil war while the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group would have to be destroyed in order to prevent the exodus from the Middle East.

Asked where the 2,000 refugees arriving daily in Europe daily should go before the conflict in the Middle East could be ended, Mr Valls replied: “You need hotspots, reception and registration centres and its (the EU’s) members to be much more active so we can register migrants and say that those who have the right of asylum will be welcomed and not the others.

“The others will be returned to their countries of origin.”

“Finally we need border controls at the external borders of the EU because Europe has forgotten that borders are required.”

Mr Valls said Europe needed to “move quickly” and with more “urgency” to combat the crisis, as he made a pointed reference to sex attacks in Cologne on New Year’s Eve - allegedly carried out by gangs of migrants - as proving the “need to find practical solutions for our borders”.

Asked whether he blamed Ms Merkel for offering an ‘open-door’ welcome to Syrian refugees last summer, Mr Valls said it was important for other European countries to “help Germany”.

The German chancellor has since said reducing the number of arrivals is her government's priority after more than one million migrants entered the country last year.

Mr Valls said: “The first message that we need to send now with the greatest of firmness is to say that we will not welcome all the refugees in Europe.

“Because a message that says come, you will be welcome, provokes major shifts.

“Today, when we speak in Europe, a few seconds later it will be shared on smartphones in the refugee camps of Libya.”

Mr Valls also repeated his warning the future of the EU was at risk in the face of the current crisis, adding: “The concept of Europe that our founding fathers had, yes it is in very grave danger.”

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