05:17 GMT25 January 2021
Listen Live
    Get short URL

    The statement came as the EU is struggling to negotiate refugee quotas and a common European framework to share responsibility for immigrant arrivals amid the ongoing migration crisis.

    Mass migration to the EU has actually planted a sort of a bomb under the bloc's architecture, and if the borders are not closed the current model will never be preserved, according to Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever, who is also leader of the nationalist New Flemish Alliance.

    "We are not against migration, but it should focus on people who have relevant skills in the labor market, like in Canada or Australia. It is necessary to stop saying that everyone who comes to us should be able to integrate as well as receive income and social housing, something that can only bee seen in Europe," De Wever told the Belgian newspaper La Libre

    READ MORE: Italian Mayor Arrested for Allegedly Aiding Illegal Migration — Finance Police

    He recalled that EU members are among the countries where the level of income distribution is one of the most significant after the Scandinavian countries.

    "But we will not be able to maintain this model if we do not close the borders," De Wever pointed out.

    He also argued that European migration policy was hammered out during the Cold War era when the goal was to "protect those who fled from the communist countries."

    READ MORE: Members of Le Pen's Party Say France Should Copy Italy's Tough Migration Rules

    "However, the rules for granting asylum were not written for mass migration. This is madness – a bomb has been planted under the European Union," Wever said, referring to the position of European judges who prohibit the practice of forcibly returning ships with illegal immigrants.

    In a nod to Brexit, Wever said that the EU "has already lost the UK" and that if "the referendum was held in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, we would have lost these countries."

    His remarks came after Polish President Andrzej Duda recalled that the Visegrad Four countries (Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary) were the first to speak three years ago about the best way to combat illegal migration – namely, to help those regions from which refugees flee to Europe rather than focus on distributing migration quotas in the EU.

    READ MORE: Red Cross Offers to Use Humanitarian Law to Tackle EU Migration Issue

    In late May, the right-wing League and the Eurosceptic Five Star Movement formed a coalition in Italy, the EU's third-largest economy. Since then, the new government has adopted a hardline stance on migration and prompted a diplomatic row in the EU after Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini barred NGO-operated migrant rescue vessels from entering Italian ports.

    Right now, Italy is trying to revise the EU's Dublin Regulation which stipulates that migrants should be sent back to the country where they first entered the continent. Rome claims that the regulation is inadequate for managing migration flows and calls for a fairer migrant resettlement system.


    Refugees Traveling via 'Covert Routes', Europe Must Take Action - Experts Say
    French Official Slams Salvini Over Anti-Migration Stance Amid Genoa Tragedy
    Canada's Right-Wing MP Says He Backs Migration but Against Multiculturalism
    Hungary Summons Swedish Ambassador Over Criticism of Migration Policy
    borders, policy, income, labor market, migration, EU, Bart De Wever
    Community standardsDiscussion