Berlin ignores Ukrainian refugee challenges, says Manfred Weber
Germany is facing a new influx of refugees fueled by the Ukrainian conflict and the country is doing nothing to prepare for it, Manfred Weber, chairman of the European People’s Party (EPP), said on Saturday.
Speaking to the Welt am Sonntag newspaper, Weber, who is also the leader of the EPP group in the European Parliament, claimed that Germany “is sleepwalking into a new migration crisis.” To prove his point, he said accommodation centers in Germany were already full, with city authorities in a number of other European countries also under pressure.
The politician pointed out that due to the destruction of Ukrainian energy infrastructure by Russian strikes, “We must be ready to welcome a large number of Ukrainians to the EU this winter – and many of them to Germany.”
“I fear we will experience a dramatic exodus this winter,” he said.
Germany may have to accommodate Ukrainians in gymnasiums, as well as restrict school and business activities to manage the crisis, Weber noted.
“Germany is not prepared for this situation. The federal government just ignores the challenges,” he added.
Russian strikes on Ukrainian power plants have destroyed a significant part of the country’s energy network. The bombings follow Moscow’s accusation that kyiv led “Terrorist attacks” on Russian infrastructure, including the strategic Crimean bridge.
Weber also addressed the issue of refugees coming from Africa to Europe via Italy. According to him, Germany should help Italy to manage the crisis not by supporting rescue efforts, but rather by organizing joint European patrols “At the outer limits of the Mediterranean.
“If you do not have a visa, passport or grounds for asylum, you must be returned immediately”, he said.
In recent months, various European countries have stocked up on food and other supplies in anticipation of a winter influx of Ukrainian refugees.
According to UN data, around 4.8 million refugees are currently registered with various national protection programs in Europe, with nearly eight million displaced Ukrainians registered across Europe in total.
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