Monday 26 September 2016

Immigration chief warns that it is 'business as usual'

David Kearns

Published 05/07/2016 | 02:30

Matthias Ruete, director general of the Directorate General for Migration and Home Affairs. Photo: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images
Matthias Ruete, director general of the Directorate General for Migration and Home Affairs. Photo: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images

The EU's immigration chief has insisted migrants are "not a topic for discussion" right now despite the issue being a key factor in the British people backing Brexit.

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Speaking at an immigration conference in Dublin yesterday afternoon, Matthias Ruete, director general of the Directorate General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME), the body which deals with border management and common EU migration and asylum policy, said it was "business as usual".

He said Britain's decision to leave the EU "was not a topic for discussion" and he declined to say what impact Brexit would have on the Schengen Area.

"Currently we are a union of 28 states and the rights and obligation this entails continue to exist. Anything else is a matter for another day," he said.

In his address, Mr Ruete explained how the EU was responding to the challenges posed by the refugee crisis.

Appointed to the head of DG HOME in 2014, he said the EU's migration and asylum policies had never been designed to tackle the "current migrant storm".

"The last 24 months have seen a lot of our policies blown away . . . agencies which, perhaps, could work in fair weather conditions, were clearly not built to master the type of policies being asked of us by politicians and European citizens," he said.

Mr Ruete added that, in the coming weeks, "four new pillars of policy would be erected" to help tackle the flow of refugees fleeing to Europe from conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and Libya and elsewhere.

He promised to strengthen borders with the deployment of a new EU agency aimed at aiding countries unable to cope with the influx. However, he warned that countries that failed to heed the recommendations of this new border force could face expulsion from the Schengen Area.

Irish Independent

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