European Leaders Connect Terror Threats with Asylum Seekers

19 November 2015
Amidst the Paris terror attacks, a Syrian passport allegedly belonging to one of the terrorists was discovered by investigating authorities. It is believed that the terrorist gained access to the city by blending into the throng of Syrian refugees entering Greece from Turkey during the past couple of months. The news emerged after a number of arrests and searches in the Muslim quarter of Brussels on Saturday. Bavarian authorities also reported that they had intercepted and arrested a Montenegrin a couple of days before in possession of weapons.
With the global struggle of managing the worst ever immigration crisis since the Second World War coming to a fever pitch, this incident could not have come at a worse time. Poland has already declared that it will not take the EU’s necessary quota for sharing refugees seriously if authorities confirm that the terrorists entered Paris with the asylum seekers. The decision will also make Germany’s open door policy for refugees suspect and will play havoc on its current regulations.
According to the Greek police minister, Nikos Toskas, on the 3rd of October, the holder of the passport had gone through Leros and was identified according to EU regulations. The country had been under heavy fire from German critics for several months for their failure in managing and registering the almost limitless number of refugees passing through its borders from Turkey.
The statement from the police minister seems to offer credence to their concerns. He also stated that they were not sure whether the passport underwent checks in other countries which the holder passed through and efforts to ensure the security of the country along with Europe will increase as well. This includes complete identification of those arriving from Syria via other countries.
The newly minted Polish rightwing government used the apparent tensions as leverage to argue that the EU’s current stance on the refugee quote system should be void. Konrad Szymanski, the minister for European Affairs, insisted that the main goal of the Polish government was to ensure complete control of its borders, immigration and asylums and the EU initiative would only compromise it.
The harshness and ill timing of the comments incited public outcry, but the seriousness of the issue will remain apparent for the following few months. The Premier of Hungary, Viktor Orban, who had opposed the immigration, may be feeling vindicated in his opinion. He certainly has plenty of support. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was one of the most vocal regarding open door policies for refugees, is expected to experience a shift in position as well.
However, despite increasing pressure from German coalitions to seize tighter control of the borders, Merkel has stated that the open door policy for Syrian refugees will not be dropped and that the main priority after the Paris attacks is to protect innocent asylum seekers and restore their hope. In August Germany made history by ignoring EU rules and opened their borders to refugees with the Chancellor urging the UK to do the same. Needless to say, the recent Paris attacks seem to only add fuel to her opposing coalition’s arguments.


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