More than half of those fleeing to Europe from the Middle East and Africa are economic migrants and not asylum seekers fleeing the horrors of war in Iraq or Syria, according to first vice-president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans.
Quoting what he said were new, unpublished, figures from the EU border agency, Frontex, Mr Timmermans said: “More than half of the people now coming to Europe come from countries where you can assume they have no reason whatsoever to ask for refugee status … more than half, 60 percent.”
Those 60 percent were predominantly from north Africa, mainly Moroccans or Tunisians who were leaving their own countries for “economic reasons” and attempting to travel to Europe through Turkey, the former Netherlands foreign minister told the Dutch national broadcaster, NOS.
If the figures used by Mr Timmermans are correct, they could change the complexion of the political debate over how many migrants …