2016-03-03 18:39:00

European Council President urges migrants to stay home

(Vatican Radio) The European Union's leader has warned economic migrants not to even think of coming to Europe, but also  condemned EU member states for uncoordinated attempts to keep people fleeing war and poverty out of the 28-nation block.

European Council President Donald Tusk made the comments while visiting Greece and nearby Turkey amid growing human misery in the region. 

Listen to the report by Stefan Bos:

Tusk, who is touring through countries worst affected by Europe's largest mass movement of people since World War Two described the situation along the Western Balkan migration route as "really dramatic". 

Speaking in Athens, Greece, Tusk said unilateral actions by EU member states has been hurting solidarity and must stop.

A series of restrictions imposed by Austria and other countries - first on economic migrants but most recently on refugees - has created a huge bottleneck in Greece. 

At least 10,000 men, women and children have been camped for days in horrific conditions at the Greece's Idomeni border crossing with Macedonia. Protests have been frequent, and this week Macedonian police used tear gas and stun grenades to repel hundreds of Syrians and Iraqis who had torn down a border gate.


However following talks with the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Tusk also warned economic migrants not to travel to Europe. “I want to appeal to all potential illegal, economic, migrants wherever you are from. Do not come to Europe," he said. 

"Do not believe the smugglers. Do not risk your lives and your money, it is all for nothing,” Tush added.

With thousands of migrants now trapped on the border between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Athens wants sanctions imposed on member states which have set up temporary restrictions on their frontiers.

Hungary, which borders several Balkan nations, has also been criticized for erecting border fences. Hungarian inmates even produced even 100 kilometers of razor wire for similar structures in Macedonia.        

The escalating crisis comes ahead of another EU summit to discuss how to prevent last year’s chaos when more than a million migrants and refugees arrived in the EU. Many fleeing the war in Syria and other troubled nations have been walking from Turkey northwards in hope of finding a better life in more welcoming and prosperous Western nations.  

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