slovenia austria migrants.jpg

There is no reason to turn against refugees after the Brussels terrorist attacks, the European Commission said Wednesday, after several right-wing politicians called for tougher migration policies.

Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, for example, said that after the events in Belgium, Warsaw is no longer prepared to take in an agreed quota of 7,500 asylum seekers as part of a burden sharing scheme agreed by the European Union.

However, EU Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told reporters in Brussels there should be no confusion between the two parallel, but clearly separate, crises the bloc is facing on security and migration.

"Those people who arrive on our shores are precisely fleeing the same terror that has struck us right here in heart of Europe. To antagonize those seeking protection would be giving in to the hatred and division that terrorists seek to sow," Avramopoulos said.

EU commissioner Kristalina Georgieva, in charge of budget and personnel issues, also spoke out against pointing the finger at refugees.

"We will continue to be open and tolerant, understanding that religious extremists do no speak for an entire religion and understanding also that many of those who seek refuge in Europe are running from the same extremists that have hurt us here in Brussels," she said.

Avramopoulos, however, said EU governments needed to step up intelligence cooperation, crack down on black market weapons and forged and stolen documents, and tighten controls at the EU's external borders.

"If now is not the time to step up cooperation, then I don't really know when it is. It is beyond time to get serious about security," he said.

On Tuesday, a European Parliament member for British anti-EU party UKIP, Mike Hookem, issued a statement claiming that terrorist killings in Brussels were "a result of Schengen free movement and lax border controls."

Hookem cited EU police agency Europol as estimating that "5,000 jihadists" from Syria are "at large" in the bloc, including 94 in the infamous Brussels neighbourhood of Molenbeek, already linked to the Paris November 13 attacks.

Latest news

Messi's last minute penalty saves Barcelona from shock draw

Barcelona beat Leganes 2-1 with a last minute penalty from Lionel Messi in the Spanish first division on Sunday.

At least 30 injured after explosion in Bogota

A explosion in the Macarena area of Bogota injured at least 30 people on Sunday, many of them police officers who were guarding a bull running through the streets of the Colombian capital.

Vojvodina institutions hold conference on Bunjevci's non-Croat ethnic background

There are around 16,000 members of the Bunjevci community in Vojvodina who deny their Croat ethnic background. They are represented by the Bunjevci National Council which enjoys the support of state authorities, and, since the change of government in Vojvodina, of the provincial authorities as well.

SpaceX rocket blasts off from historic launch pad en route to ISS

A commercial rocket built by SpaceX is on its way to the International Space Station (ISS) with a load of research equipment, cargo and supplies, NASA said Sunday.

Defence deals worth 1.2 billion dollars announced at key UAE show

Deals worth nearly 4.4 billion dirhams (1.2 billion dollars) were reached at a major defence show that opened Sunday in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), an official said.

Thousands protest in Malta against controversial press law reforms

Thousands of people attended a demonstration in Malta on Sunday, answering a call by the main opposition party to protest against what it described as a threat to democracy and freedom of expression.

London's mayor calls for Trump's state visit to be cancelled

US President Donald Trump should be denied a state visit to Britain due to his "cruel and shameful" immigration policies, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Sunday.

'Now more than ever': US scientists gird for confrontation with Trump

Normally any annual gathering of American scientists is relatively non-political. But, with Donald Trump in the White House, things are different at this year's meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Many researchers are worried about their future and are urging colleagues to protest - and remain vigilant.

Int'l conference on post-war monuments in post-communist Europe held in Zagreb

The event was organised by the Zagreb-based association SF:ius in cooperation with the Croatian chapter of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).

Serbians wouldn't go to war for Kosovo - poll

A majority of citizens in Serbia wouldn't go to war to claim back Kosovo, shows a survey conducted by the Serbian nongovernmental organisation "Belgrade Centre for Security Policy".

Grabar-Kitarovic, Lavrov find solution to air pollution caused by Bosanski Brod oil refinery

Croatia and Russia have found a solution for the problem of air pollution caused by a Russian-owned oil refinery in Bosanski Brod, northern Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has been poisoning residents of Slavonski Brod, a town across the Sava River in Croatia, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic said in Munich on Sunday.

Istria border police discover 20 migrants in van

During routine border control, police in the northern Croatian Adriatic region of Istria on Saturday discovered 20 migrants in a van driven by a Croatian national, the Ministry of the Interior said.