The European Union’s (EU) Enlargement Commissioner has claimed Russia is working to destabilise the continent by flooding it with migrants from Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
Speaking in an interview with Germany’s Zeit, EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn articulated his view that it was “no coincidence” that refugees were suddenly appearing on Europe’s northern borders from the Russian Federation, and hinted at a hidden plan to destroy Europe.
Mr. Hahn, who has the responsibility of pushing the European Union further east into what could be considered the Russian sphere of influence, remarked: “We have observed in northern Europe a new phenomenon. More and more refugees [are coming] from Russia to Finland and Norway”.
Despite acknowledging the actual volume of refugees arriving from Russia was insignificant, Mr. Hahn said he suspected a conspiracy where refugees from central Asia were being used unwittingly to further political goals. He explained: “The numbers are not so high. Disturbingly, however, are the political signals that stand behind it. It is no coincidence this happening now”.
Mr. Hahn said these particular refugees, Tajiks and Turkmens, had lived in Russia for many years but were suddenly being passed on now, and they had probably received assistance to make it to the Norwegian and Finnish borders. When asked by the paper whether he was indeed inferring that Russia was deliberately dumping migrants on Europe to exacerbate the migrant crisis, Mr. Hahn said “it is striking that this should happen just at the moment where the EU is already under severe pressure”.
Despite Mr. Hahn’s claims, Norway is not a member of the European Union, even though it is of the Schengen free-travel zone.
Apparently pre-empting the EU commissioner’s comments, Russian ambassador to the European Union Vladimir Chizov spoke in an interview with Euractive and denied the suggestion that Russia wanted to see the EU weakened.
Responding to the accusation that Russia was clandestinely campaigning for Britain to leave the EU, and thus see the continental power bloc less potent he remarked: “No. I wonder why people think that Russia would want to destabilise the EU, or to break it up. That has never been the aim of Russian foreign policy.
“Actually we’ve always said, and I have personally said more than once, that we want to see the EU as a substantial pole of influence and power in this multipolar world of ours, to have a coherent position on various issues and of course to act independently. Which is not always the case today”.
The border between Norway and Russia has been the scene of some disagreement in recent months, as the Norwegian authorities grew increasingly reluctant to accept migrants and attempted to send them back. Russia in turn refused to accept them, and a situation arose where a number of migrants were left in limbo, unable to enter either nation.
Follow Oliver Lane on Twitter: Follow @Oliver_Lane or e-mail to: email@example.com