The European Union cannot cope with one more year of the migrant crisis, Denmark’s Prime Minister has said.
Speaking to the media during British Prime Minister David Cameron’s EU negotiations yesterday, Lars Løkke Rasmussen warned that Europe was reaching breaking point in the ongoing crisis.
“We need to find solutions that work. Because we cannot handle yet another year with an influx like the one we saw last year,” he said. “Especially not if the burden continues to be borne by very few countries.”
Danish news agency Ritzau reports that Mr Rasmussen agreed with a German-backed plan to help Turkey stem the flow of migrants leaving its shores. The EU has promised to pay Turkey three billion euros if it agrees to do more to stop migrants travelling across the Mediterranean to Greece.
“Turkey is sitting with a sort of key,” Mr Rasmussen added. “The way the Turks take action will have an impact on how many come.”
Despite growing concerns at Europe’s ability to cope with the record number of migrants, analysts predict there will be no slow down this year. Earlier this week, Fabrice Blanche, visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said a million people from Syria alone are likely to come to Europe this year.
His warning follows that of German Development Minister Gerd Müller, who said that up to 10 million people are likely to travel to Europe over the coming years.
Saying that only a tenth of potential migrants from Syria and Iraq had reached the continent so far, Mr Müller also warned of the impact of North Africa: “The biggest movements are ahead: Africa’s population will double in the coming decades. In the Sahara up to one million people have died trying to escape.”
He added that it is unlikely the Schengen visa-free zone will likely survive in the long run: “The protection of external borders is not working. Schengen has collapsed. A fair distribution of refugees has not taken place.”