EU conservatives call to strengthen bloc's borders

21st October 2015, Comments 0 comments

European Union conservative parties on Wednesday called for the strengthening of the bloc's external borders, warning the flow of migrants could "destabilise" the region if it continues.

"We cannot accept millions and millions more people which we would not know how to manage, and which would destabilise many countries and regions," said Joseph Daul, chairman of the European People's Party (EPP) which groups conservative parties from across the EU.

Among its members are the ruling parties of several nations at the heart of the crisis such as Germany's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Hungary's Fidesz party and Bulgaria's GERB.

"We can't accept the entire misery of the world," added Daul at the start of a two-day annual European People's Party congress in Madrid.

"How will all of these refugees who arrive face winter?"

Germany, which has thrown open its gates to the lion's share of new arrivals, has already experienced problems in settling them in the north of the country, he said.

Swedish furniture maker IKEA has already run out of beds in Germany because of the strong demand from refugees, he charged.

UN figures show that the total number of refugees and migrants who have reached Europe this year via the Mediterranean is now over 643,000, many of them fleeing war, violence and poverty in the Middle East and beyond.

Thousands more people are still pouring in and UN officials have said there is no sign the influx is slowing as expected with the approach of winter.

- An effective example? -

The EPP congress is expected to adopt a four-page resolution on Wednesday night that calls for improvements in the reception of migrants but also demands the strengthening of the EU's external borders.

The resolution will also call for those who are denied asylum to be returned home, a crack down on human smugglers and the conclusion of agreements with transit countries to stem the flow of refugees.

The EPP cited as an example agreements signed between Spain and Morocco, Senegal and Mauritania under which they agreed to strengthen their borders and accept the repatriation of their nationals in exchange for development aid which reduced the flow drastically.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to address the Madrid gathering on Thursday, along with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban who has taken a hardline stance against refugees.

Merkel visited Istanbul on Sunday for talks on a final plan between Turkey and the EU to deal with the crisis.

Germany proposes increasing financial aid to Turkey to help it host refugees if Ankara does more to tighten its border security and helps contain the historic influx of people seeking shelter in the 28-nation bloc.

Supporting education was also key, said Spain's Antonio Lopez-Isturiz who is the EPP's secretary general.

"We don't want there to be a lost generation of youths once the wars and crisis are over," he said.

Several EU countries, notably Germany and Austria, have reintroduced border checks in recent months in a bid to control the influx.

© 2015 AFP

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