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Saturday 20 July 2019

Paris attacks must not change EU refugee policy - Juncker

Jean-Claude Juncker said the people behind the Paris attacks are
Jean-Claude Juncker said the people behind the Paris attacks are "exactly those who the refugees are fleeing"

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says the bloc's refugee policy does not need to be overhauled after the Paris attacks and has urged world leaders not to start treating asylum-seekers as terrorists.

Mr Juncker said: "Those who organised these attacks, and those who carried them out, are exactly those who the refugees are fleeing."

He told reporters at the G20 summit: "There is no need to revise the European Union's entire refugee policy."

He was speaking after Poland's incoming government leaders said they would not accept refugees without security guarantees.

Mr Juncker urged them "to be serious about this, and not to give in (to) these basic reactions".

European Union President Donald Tusk said earlier that signs had emerged that attacks on moderate opposition forces in Syria were creating a new flood of refugees.

He said such attacks will "only result (in) a new wave of refugees. And we have some signals that in fact it's started".

The US and its allies say Russian warplanes in Syria have mostly targeted moderate opponents of president Bashar Assad instead of their declared main target, Islamic State. Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed the allegations.

Mr Tusk did not mention Russia by name but said IS is "the real enemy of the free world, not the moderate Syrian opposition".

Balkan authorities are tracking the travels of the owner of a Syrian passport that was found next to a suicide bomber's body at France's national stadium on Friday night.

Officials in Greece say the passport's owner entered the country on October 3 through Leros, one of the eastern Aegean islands that tens of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty have been using as a gateway into the European Union.

Serbian police say he registered at the border entry with Macedonia on October 7.

Croatian police say he was checked at a refugee centre on October 8. Police spokeswoman Helena Biocic said the man was not flagged as suspicious and continued his journey towards Hungary and Austria.

It is still not yet clear whether the Syrian passport is fake or real, or whether it belonged to the dead bomber. European officials say there is a brisk trade in fake Syrian passports to help people get refugee status in the EU.

German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen said linking Europe's migrant crisis to the threat of terrorism would be wrong.

She said: "Terrorism is so well organised that it doesn't have to risk the arduous refugee routes, and the sometimes life-threatening crossings at sea."

PA Media

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