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60 Per Cent of ‘Refugees’ Are Really Economic Migrants Admits EU Commissioner


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Basing his claim on the on the latest, as yet unpublished, data from Frontex — the European security agency which manages cooperation between national border guards securing the bloc’s external borders — Commissioner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. He warned:

“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.”

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