EU Commission refugee announcement riles right-wing MEPs

The EU Commission predicts three million migrants will arrive by end of next year.  


By William Louch

06 Nov 2015

The European Commission has announced that three million more migrants are expected to arrive in the Europe by the end of the next year. This figure is four times more than the number that have already arrived in Europe so far this year.

The prediction is based on current levels of migrant entries and a "technical assumption" on future flows, with arrival rates unlikely to slow before 2017.

Pierre Moscovici, EU Commissioner for financial affairs, said the arrival of the migrants would have a positive impact on the bloc's economy, increasing gross domestic product across the 28 member states by 0.2-0.3 per cent by 2020, with the boost likely to come from an increase in labour supply.


The findings are similar to those of other leading economists, with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development also claiming that the European economy stands to benefit from increased immigration rates.

However, while the economic effect is likely to be positive, he was unsure of the social impact. He added, "It is beyond the scope of this forecast to examine the social or societal implications of the arrival of large numbers of asylum seekers."

Eurosceptic MEPs have slammed the announcement, and it is likely to add fuel to arguments that EU countries need greater control over their own borders.

Nigel Farage, leader of Parliament's EFDD group, tweeted, "EU forecasting another 3 million migrants to arrive by end of 2016. Nothing illustrates need to leave EU more than this dire prediction."

Stephen Woolfe, a colleague of Farage's in the EFDD, said, "The Commission’s assessment of the positive economic effects of this level of uncontrolled immigration to Europe is laughable."

He added, "What borders on criminal negligence, however, is the Commission’s utter ignorance of what effects such massive numbers of human beings from completely different cultures and religions will have on existing communities within the EU."

The controversial leader of Parliament's extreme-right ENF group, Marine Le Pen, commented that, "the EU is powerless against the brutal acceleration of the migration crisis."

The Commission's commitment to relocate 160,000 refugees across the bloc has yet to take effect, with the crisis showing no signs of abating.

Between September and October, nearly 200,000 people entered Croatia after Hungary closed its borders. In October, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, estimated that more than 10,000 refugees were stranded in Serbia and were short of aid and food.

In response, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia have called on the support of the EU civil protection mechanism - designed to offer assistance to companies struggling to cope with the crisis.

However, 18 member states have failed to respond to the request, meaning many essential items such as beds, blankets and protective clothing have not been delivered.

The scheme has also come under fire Wednesday from Sweden, one of the main destinations of migrants coming to Europe.

At a press conference following a meeting with European Council President Donald Tusk, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Loefven, said, "it is time that other countries take responsibility and that is why the government requires redistribution of refugees from Sweden," adding the situation is simply "not sustainable."

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