Top EU diplomat warns migration might ‘dissolve’ bloc

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Foreign policy leader of the European Union, Josep Borrell, has warned that immigration might become a “dissolving force” for the 27-nation bloc, claiming that certain member states simply “don’t want to accept people from outside.”

In an interview with the Guardian published on Friday, Borrell discussed rising nationalist sentiment across Europe, adding that “we have not been able to agree on a common migration policy until now.”

“Migration is causing a greater schism in the European Union.” And it might be a disintegrating factor for the European Union,” he added, adding: “There are certain European Union members who are Japanese-style – we don’t want to mix.” We are not interested in migrants. We do not want to accept visitors from outside. “We need our purity.”

However, Borrell argued that Europe’s current “low demographic growth” means that some states require an influx of immigration, calling the situation a “paradox.”

If we want to survive from a labor point of view, we need migrants,” the official continued.

Borrell’s remarks come just days after German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier stated that his country could no longer accept migrants and refugees, telling an Italian publication that “Germany, like Italy, has reached the limit of its capacity.”

The president mentioned “strong immigration from the eastern borders, from Syria, Afghanistan,” as well as “over a million refugees from Ukraine” in the previous year, and asked for a “permanent solidarity mechanism” to ensure a “fair distribution” of migrants in Europe.

According to the German tabloid Die Welt, Rome is also rethinking its border procedures in the wake of a surge in migration, with authorities reportedly informing other EU countries last December that Italy would block migrant transfers “for a limited period of time.” They said the move was linked to “suddenly arising” technical issues related to the country’s intake capacity, though the suspension has continued into 2023, the German outlet reported.

While Borrell warned that immigration dissent could eventually jeopardise the EU’s integrity, he vowed that the bloc will remain united for the time being. He claimed that Britain’s choice to exit the EU worked as a “vaccine” for other members, claiming that “no one wants to follow the British leaving the European Union.”

Since 2015, when the EU was rocked by an inflow of refugees and economic migrants motivated by poverty and wars in Africa and the Middle East, migration has remained a highly controversial subject within the bloc.

Some nations, particularly Hungary and Poland, have been outspoken in their opposition to Brussels’ attempts to compel them to accept and settle refugees who arrived in other member states first. Meanwhile, the Italian government has closed its ports to ships carrying migrants from North Africa, asking that other EU countries shoulder the responsibility of receiving them. The need for stronger border controls was also a driving force behind the ‘Leave’ campaign during the UK’s Brexit referendum in 2016.