Europe must turn back migrants on smugglers’ boats: Belgian minister

Dhaka,  Fri,  22 September 2017
Published : 12 May 2017, 18:36:53

Europe must turn back migrants on smugglers’ boats: Belgian minister

The EU must not accept African migrants who pay human traffickers to cross the Mediterranean, but turn them back, Belgium’s Migration Minister Theo Francken told Reuters on Thursday, according to media reports.

Only then could the bloc open up legal pathways for refugees and migrants into Europe and fly them in under an annual cap, he said, rather than get more of the uncontrolled influx that saw 1.6 million people reach its shores in 2014-2016.

“This system is totally crazy and is not working. We have to fix this by being very clear: Taking a ticket on a smuggler boat does not give you free entrance into the European continent,” said Francken, who is with the Flemish nationalist N-VA party.

“The current system is totally inhumane,” he said, adding it enriched international criminal networks dealing with people smuggling at the expense of thousands dying on the sea crossing.

Francken made clear his comments referred to all Africans — north and sub-Saharan — and to those coming in smugglers’ boats, who make up the great majority of those sailing to Europe.
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