Massacre re-ignites refugee row in European Union

The attacks have reignited a row within the EU on how to handle the flood of asylum seekers from Syria and other countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

French President Francois Hollande (L) escorts Nicolas Sarkozy, former president and current head of the Les Republicains political party, before a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, November 15, 2015.

After it has been established that at least one of the attackers in the Paris Attacks appears to have followed the route taken by hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers who have crossed, the row on refugees acceptance has reared its ugly head again.

Alhamed was said to have been identified as one of the many refugees that crossed by boat from Turkey to the Greek Islands, before heading through the Balkans to EU countries to the north, mainly Germany and Sweden.

In Belgrade, the Serbian government said the holder of a Syrian passport found near the body of one of the gunmen had passed through the country last month where he sought asylum.

The Interior Ministry said the man, whom it identified only by the initials A.A., had been registered at Serbia's Presevo border crossing with Macedonia on Oct. 7.

It said his details were the same as those of a man who had registered in Greece on October 3, 2015 Greek authorities said on Saturday that the passport matched one used by someone who had landed on the island of Leros. They believe that another of the assailants may also have passed through Greece from Turkey alongside Syrian refugees fleeing the country's civil war.

The attacks have reignited a row within the EU on how to handle the flood of asylum seekers from Syria and other countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Top Polish and Slovak officials have poured cold water on an EU plan to relocate asylum seekers across the bloc, saying the violence underlined the concerns of Europeans about taking in Muslim refugees.

But Juncker said EU states should not give in to base reactions. "The one responsible for the attacks in Paris... he is a criminal and not a refugee and not an asylum seeker," he told a news conference on the sidelines of a G20 summit of world leaders in the Turkish coastal province of Antalya.

"I would invite those in Europe who try to change the migration agenda we have adopted - I would like to remind them to be serious about this and not to give in to these basic reactions that I do not like," Juncker added.

Nevertheless, Bavarian allies of German Chancellor Angela Merkel raised the pressure to reverse her "open-door" refugee policy, saying the attacks underlined the need for tougher measures to control the influx of migrants.

"The days of uncontrolled immigration and illegal entry can't continue just like that. Paris changes everything," said Markus Soeder, the finance minister of Bavaria - the state where most asylum seekers have arrived in Germany.

Speaking to Welt am Sonntag newspaper, Soeder stressed his Bavarian conservative party still supported the chancellor, but added: "It would be good if Angela Merkel acknowledged that the opening of the border for an unlimited period of time was a mistake."

In Vienna, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said his country's intelligence services had shared information they had which indicated that France, the United States and Iran were among countries being targeted for attack.

Jaafari said from the sidelines of talks in the Austrian capital on ending the war in Syria that the countries had been informed but he did not elaborate.

At the G20 summit, President Barack Obama described the killings in Paris as an attack on the civilised world and said the United States would work with France to hunt down those responsible.


Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:


Recommended articles

Festus Keyamo says Twitter must be regulated in Nigeria

ICPC calls for strict law enforcement to tackle corruption

Akeredolu to establish business district in Akure to boost economic activities

Moghalu elected into board of UN group

Solid minerals areas commission bill passes 2nd reading at Senate

Imo govt denies beating up journalist

We have paid N6 billion gratuity arrears since 2017 - Akeredolu

Lawmakers investigating Twitter suspension express support for social media regulation

Saudi Arabia donates $1m worth of medical equipment to Nigeria's FG