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EU's Juncker defends refugee plan despite Paris attacks

16 november 2015, 13:13

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker firmly defended Sunday the EU's hotly-contested plan to redistribute refugees across Europe despite calls by Poland to scrap the scheme after the deadly attacks in Paris, AFP reports.

The EU's eastern-most members have been furious over the redistribution plan agreed in October, calling instead for a stronger EU outer-border, but Juncker warned against using the tragedy in Paris as means to roll it back.   

"I would like to invite those in Europe who are trying to change the migration agenda we have adopted... to be serious about this and not to give in to these basic reactions. I don't like it," Juncker told reporters on the sidelines of the G20leaders' meeting in Antalya, Turkey.

The fresh criticism of the plan emerged after officials in Greece said a Syrian passport found at the scene of the mass shooting in a Paris concert hall belonged to an asylum seeker who registered on a Greek island in October.

Greek police did not rule out that the passport had changed hands before the attacks.

Poland's incoming European Affairs Minister Konrad Szymanski led the charge against the EU saying that Warsaw no longer considered the plan as a "political possibility" in the light of the Paris attacks.

But Juncker said that "those who organised, who perpetrated the attacks are the very same people who the refugees are fleeing and not the opposite."

"And so there is no need for an overall review of the European policy on refugees," Juncker said.

The policy is also staunchly defended by Germany, which urged against any over-reaction after the events in Paris, as it deals with consequences of absorbing an expected one million asylum seekers this year.

"I would like to make this urgent plea to avoid drawing such swift links to the situation surrounding refugees," Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said inGermany on Saturday.

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