Europe facing migration issue, not refugee influx: Red Cross

17th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Europe is facing the arrival of boatloads of economic migrants from the turmoil-hit Arab world but not a refugee influx, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross said in a newspaper interview Sunday.

"There is no refugee influx but a migration problem," Jakob Kellenberger told the Swiss newspaper Der Sonntag as Italy struggles to deal with the arrival of thousands of migrants fleeing by boat the unrest in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

The Geneva-based ICRC chief urged European leaders to make a "clear distinction" between refugees, who feel threatened in their home country, and economic migrants flocking to Europe in search of jobs they cannot find back home.

Kellenberger said he was taken by surprise by the popular revolts in the north African region.

"What surprised me most was that it all happened suddenly, and then this domino effect," he noted.

© 2011 AFP

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