by Sarkis Zeronian
More than half of the migrants coming to Europe seeking refugee
status are not fleeing war but are in fact economic migrants from North
Africa, according to a European Union Commissioner.
The comments about the reality of economic migrants were made by Frans Timmermans, the European Commission’s First Vice-President, in an interview with the Dutch Broadcast Foundation (NOS).
He said that far from fleeing warzones, migrants to Europe are mostly
North Africans leaving their homeland for economic reasons, adding:
“More than half of the people now coming to Europe come from
countries where you can assume they have no reason whatsoever to ask for
refugee status. More than half, 60 per cent.”
Basing his claim on the on the latest, as yet unpublished, data from Frontex — the
European security agency which manages cooperation between national
border guards securing the bloc’s external borders — Commissioner
Timmermans said they are mainly economic migrants from countries such as
Morocco and Tunisia, attempting to reach Europe via via Turkey.
The reason for Commissioner Timmermans’ intervention was not to make a
case against mass migration in general, but to strengthen the case for
genuine asylum seekers. He told NOS that economic migrants
should be returned to their home countries in North Africa “as soon as
possible” in order to ensure that support for refugees who are actually
fleeing war is not damaged.
The alternative, he says, is that the European Union “must go back to
the introduction of internal border controls”, an act which would have
huge economic implications for the transport sector facing delays of
hours and even days dealing with reintroduced border controls.
Suspending the borderless Schengen Zone would not, in Commissioner
Timmerman’s opion, guarantee a solution to the ongoing migrant crisis.
“If we go down the path of internal border controls, we are taking a
huge risk, the economic consequences are enormous, without knowing
whether it delivers what you want, namely that fewer refugees enter.”