January 22, 2016 / 8:39 AM / in 3 years

French PM says refugee crisis threatening idea of EU: BBC

LONDON (Reuters) - French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Friday Europe cannot cope with the number of refugees arriving at its borders and that the influx was threatening the idea of the European Union.

A French riot policeman stops migrants in a field near Calais, France, as migrants gather in the hopes of attempting to board lorries and making their way across the Channel to Britain, January 21, 2016. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

“We cannot say or accept that all refugees ...can be welcomed in Europe,” Valls told the BBC, adding that the migrant crisis would threaten to destabilize the European Union and that stronger control was needed to exercised at its borders.

Valls also said Europe needed to send a different message to the one issued by Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, who called for her European partners to take on quotas of refugees.

“Germany is faced with a major challenge. We need to help Germany. But the first message we need to send now is with the greatest of firmness is to say that we will not welcome all the refugees in Europe,” said Valls.

“Because a message that says come, you will be welcome, provokes major shifts,” he added.

Reporting by Li-mei Hoang; Editing by Dominic Evans

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