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Some EU states practicing hypocrisy over refugee crisis: Mogherini

23 January 2016 15:37


EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has criticized some members of the 28-nation bloc for hypocrisy over the refugee crisis unfolding in Europe.

“We risk this cycle that countries ask for European responses, then they prevent these European responses from taking place,” she said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday.

The senior EU diplomat further said a number of European statesmen and legislators are taking advantage of the refugee crisis for electoral purposes.

Europe is divided over how to deal with the flood of people, mainly fleeing the deadly conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa. While some European leaders support an open-door refugee policy, others prefer controlling the EU’s external borders.

French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron warned that time is running out to come up with a collective and viable solution to the huge influx of refugees into the continent.

“We have a few weeks to concretely deliver our options… otherwise you have country-by-country solutions (and that is) the beginning of the dismantling for sure,” he said.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte also echoed the French minister’s remarks and said Europe only had six to eight weeks left to solve the problem.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (© AFP)

“When spring comes and the numbers quadruple, we cannot as the EU cope with the numbers any longer,” Rutte said.

However, economists have called on EU states to treat the inflow of refugees as an opportunity to improve the continent’s economic situation.

French economist Hélène Rey called for measures to facilitate the integration of refugees in European societies.

“It is an opportunity. You have to invest in the integration of refugees and you get a return on that investment down the road,” she said.

A Macedonian police officer checks the identification documents of a refugee as refugees wait to cross the border from Greece to Macedonia near Idomeni, Jan. 21, 2016. ©AFP

President of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi also said the refugees could be an “opportunity” to stimulate economic growth in Europe.

The EU is facing its worst refugee crisis in decades with more than a million estimated to have entered the continent in 2015 while a record number is expected for this year.

More than 3,700 people either died or went missing in their perilous journey to the continent last year.

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