Putin Blames Migration Crisis on EU 'Social Benefits'

Published September 19th, 2018 - 09:13 GMT
Russian President Vladimir Putin (AFP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (AFP)

Vladimir Putin has said the EU's generous social benefits are to blame for the migrant crisis - and that most immigrants arriving in Russia integrate because they speak Russian.

The Russian President, speaking after talks with hard right Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Moscow, pointed to the 'large social benefits and other bonuses' available in the bloc.

He said: 'If one encourages migration with large social benefits and other bonuses, why should this flow ever stop?'

Immigrants arriving in Russia were from post-Soviet states meaning many of them already speak the language and integrated into society easily, he added.



On the other hand, Europe faces a 'very complex' process of integrating migrants from entirely different cultures, he said, according to RT.

More than a million refugees entered Germany in 2015 as a result of Chancellor Angela Merkel's open doors policy on migration.

Thousands have died trying to cross the Mediterranean to escape conflict in their homelands while Italy sparked a diplomatic crisis.

The number of people fleeing war or poverty in Africa, the Middle East and Asia who cross to the EU has dropped to about 80,000 this year, but the issue is divisive and has bolstered far-right and other anti-establishment groups.

Italy sparked a diplomatic crisis earlier this year by closing its ports to most asylum-seeker.

Kremlin strongman Putin said it was now down to EU members to find a way of tackling the immigration issue.

He said 'it's up to our colleagues in Europe to decide for themselves what is better for Europe and Europeans.'

The comments came a day after Orban vowed to oppose an EU plan aimed at bolstering the bloc's external borders, accusing Brussels of wanting to take away Hungary's control of its own frontiers.

According to the fiercely anti-immigration premier, the plan to reinforce border defences on the bloc's margins would 'strip Hungary of its right to protect its own borders'.

'We will not give up our right to defend a border, no-one can take an iota of that away from us,' he said during a speech in parliament in Budapest.

Hungary 'understand(s) border defence better than anyone in Brussels or an international organisation,' he said.

The European Commission unveiled a proposal in July to hike staff numbers at the EU's border-guard and coastguard agency Frontex.

The Warsaw-based agency currently only has 600 staff, with EU members assigning extra support through hundreds of police for operations in Italy and Greece, which along with Spain have continued to bear the brunt of the arrivals.

An extra 10,000 agents would be deployed at EU borders from 2020 under the plan, and would be able to patrol and intervene when needed.

Last week Orban described the EU plan as a 'pro-immigration' effort led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to remove border control from peripheral countries and give 'the keys to the gate' to Brussels.

'They will send mercenaries here from Brussels, from where they will be told how the Hungarian border should be protected,' Orban said on state radio Friday.

'We should be under no illusions: if they control Hungarian border defences, they will let in the migrants,' he said.

Orban said he would oppose the plan at a informal meeting of EU heads of state in Salzburg, Austria, later this week where the topics of migration and border security are expected to dominate.

In a statement Monday the European Commission's representative office in Budapest denied Orban's accusations.

'The EU does not want to take over border defence from member states, but rather help them to protect the external borders,' it said.

The 55-year-old premier suffered a rare setback last week when the European Parliament voted to launch a sanctions procedure against Hungary over rule-of-law concerns.

Orban said the vote in Strasbourg was a bid to weaken Hungary which has become a 'symbol of resistance against migration'.

Hungary will file a case at the European Court of Justice, said Orban's chief-of-staff Monday, as the vote did not include abstentions in the calculation of the two-thirds majority necessary for its adoption, and hence broke EU rules according to Budapest.


This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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