MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Tuesday, a Populus opinion poll found that 62 percent of respondents living in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Poland — transit countries for migrants — oppose taking in refugees, while 26 percent support the action.
"All over Europe, in particular in the run-up to elections, we often see politicians play on some people's fears and help create a discussion that sees refugees as a danger and a threat to European values. That is not only dangerous, it is also a lie," Cornelia Ernst said.
Europe has been struggling to manage an enormous refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of migrants fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
Amid the massive refugee influx, Europe has seen a growing anti-immigration sentiment with protests and attacks on refugees and on the shelters used to accommodate asylum seekers.
Western Balkans Migration Plan Belated Response to Refugee Crisis
A recently adopted action plan to ease an ongoing refugee crisis along the Western Balkans route is an overdue move by EU leaders, the member of the European Parliament added.
On Sunday, an EU emergency summit on the Western Balkans migration route, attended by the leaders of 11 governments, produced a comprehensive 17-point action plan to cope with the refugee crisis.
"I have no big hopes that anything that is of much help will come out of it. It is remarkable that some of the points deal with sharing of information about the numbers of refugees in the respective countries. It is not a bad thing at all, but every normal person must wonder why this happens only now and has not happened years ago."
Ernst added that assistance from the UN Refugee Agency, agreed to during the summit, should not be needed by those EU countries capable of dealing with the issue internally.
The migrant action plan envisages additional support for refugees by providing shelters.
In recent months, Europe has been struggling to manage a major influx of migrants fleeing violence and poverty in the Middle East and North Africa.
Germany, Eastern Europe Should Receive More Refugees
Germany and other EU states, especially those in Eastern Europe, should increase their capacity to receive refugees from the Middle East and North Africa amid the massive migrant crisis in the bloc, Cornelia Ernst also said.
On Tuesday, a Populus survey revealed that Western European citizens were more accepting of refugees than their Eastern neighbors. Some 58 percent of respondents in Germany agreed to accept more migrants in their country, whereas in Eastern European states the numbers were as low as 17 percent.
"I believe that Germany can and should receive more refugees. But that does not change the fact that we need in the EU a better distribution of refugees and that obviously means that the countries in Eastern Europe should do more."
Over 710,000 migrants fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries arrived in the European Union during the first nine months of 2015, according to the EU border agency Frontex.
The EU plan to redistribute some 160,000 refugees throughout the bloc based on a quota system was strongly opposed by several Eastern European states, including the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and Hungary.