Massacre reignites refugee row

PARIS: 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.


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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 European Commission head Jean-Claude 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.