The French Prime Minister has urged caution in saying that all refugees will be “welcome” in Europe because within seconds the message will be “shared on smartphone in the refugee camps of Libya”.
Manuel Valls said that Europe would become “totally destabilised” if it were to take in every person fleeing war-torn states Iraq and Syria.
Speaking to the BBC, the politician said it is “the very idea of Europe that will be questioned” if it is unable to secure its borders.
He said: “The first message that we need to send now with the greatest of firmness is to say that we will not welcome all the refugees in Europe.
“Because a message that says come, you will be welcome, provokes major shifts.
“Today, when we speak in Europe, a few seconds later it will be shared on smartphones in the refugee camps of Libya.”
Germany accepted more than 1 million refugees in 2015.
Unlike its neighbour, France has not opened its doors to large numbers of people entering Europe.
French president François Hollande has said that France would 24,000 refugees over two years.
Since the Paris attacks in November, tensions have become more fraught in France between those welcoming asylum seekers and far-right groups, such as the National Front.
Heads of state within the European Union have clashed over opening their borders to refugees.
On Thursday, Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, said Europe needed “to get a grip on this issue” in the next two months, adding: “We can’t cope with the numbers any longer.”
Austria announced on Wednesday that it planned to limit the number of people allowed to apply for asylum to 1.5% of its population over the next four years. This year, the number would be capped at 37,500.
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