Paris: French Prime Minister Manuel Valls on Tuesday urged the European Union to limit the number of migrants it allows into the bloc, following heightened security concerns after the Paris attacks.
“Europe must say that it can no longer accommodate so many migrants, it is not possible,” he said in extracts from a lunch with foreign media published by Germany’s Suddeutsche Zeitung.
“Controlling the European Union’s external borders is essential to the future of the EU. If we don’t do that, people will say: ‘Enough, Europe!'” he added, in comments confirmed by his entourage.
Europe has been struggling for months to cope with its largest migrant crisis since World War II, but concerns about security have increased since Islamic State jihadists killed 130 people in Paris this month in the worst such attacks on French soil.
The EU agreed Friday to rush through reforms to the passport-free Schengen zone by the end of the year during a meeting in Brussels, where France also pushed a controversial scheme to collect data on air passengers.
Paris has also been stepping up efforts to create an international coalition to fight IS, which has declared a “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq, and Valls warned the jihadist group was also a threat to fellow European powers Germany and Italy.
He said the bloc must protect itself by tackling the migrant crisis at its root, and ensuring the millions of people who have fled Syria are dealt with in countries that border the war-torn country instead of making their way to the EU.
“Europe must find ways to ensure that migrants are dealt with in the countries neighbouring Syria. Otherwise, Europe’s ability to effectively control its borders is called into question,” he said.
The European Commission on Tuesday adopted a legal framework for the EU to give financial assistance to Turkey to cope with millions of Syrian refugees on its soil, but sources said finding the three billion euros Anakara wants could be tough.