Migrant border crisis largely created by politicians, says Varadkar
The Irish premier backed ‘burden sharing’ among members of the EU.
Politicians have largely created the migrant crisis at Europe’s borders, the Taoiseach said.
The number arriving has fallen by 90% since 2015 but populist parties in Europe have done very well because of the stance they have assumed, Leo Varadkar added.
Ireland has taken about 2,000 refugees so far, mainly from Greece because of differences with Italy over Garda police vetting measures, and is pledged to take the same again.
Mr Varadkar said: “Europe needs migration.”
He added: “It is more of a political crisis linked to migration than a migration crisis per se.”
He met European counterparts including the strongly anti-immigration Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and acknowledged not all member states needed the newcomers.
The Irish premier backed “burden sharing” among the members of the EU but has also called for European border security to be stepped up.
He attended talks at a summit of EU leaders in Brussels which continued overnight until 5am on Friday.
We agreed that this is a European problem, not just for one member state Leo Varadkar
Mr Varadkar added: “We agreed that this is a European problem, not just for one member state.”
Migrant centres are to be established in EU states to process asylum claims after political leaders hammered out a compromise package of measures.
Italy’s new populist government closed ports to rescue ships operated by charities, calling on its EU partners to share the burden of looking after those saved off Libya’s coastline.
Mr Varadkar said EU leaders committed to working with African countries, supporting them to build up governance, to build up security and economic opportunity, providing an extra 500 million euro (£443 million) to the European Trust Fund for Africa.
The leaders said they would also consider “disembarkation platforms”, centres in north Africa for rescued refugees.
The Irish Defence Forces LE Samuel Beckett patrol vessel was deployed on the EU’s Operation Sophia in the Mediterranean earlier this year.
Mr Varadkar has said reception centres for migrants should be run by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and warned there could be no equivocation over trafficking.