(Reuters) – A Russian drive to recruit Syrians to fight in Libya for militia leader Khalifa Haftar accelerated in May when hundreds of mercenaries were…
Mr Weber, the group leader of the European People’s Party (EPP) in the EU Parliament, criticised the current migration policy of the European Council. The EPP leader, who has been tipped as the successor of Council President Jean-Claude Juncker, labelled immigration an “open wound” in the EU and said it is one of the most widespread worries across the European continent. But current policies by the Council and Parliament have yet to give more control of the borders to EU member states than to “human traffickers”, according to Mr Weber, who promised he would make migration policy “a top priority” if he became the Council President.
Asked whether voters across the EU member states are actually casting a ballot for the European Union’s Parliament or whether each state is actually holding a national election, Mr Weber told Maz-Online: “Both. Of course, the perspectives vary from nation to nation.
“But at the same time, the big issues are the same and people share the same concerns.
“First of all, there is the migration question.
“This is the open wound of the continent.
“Whether in Greece, Lithuania or Hesse, people ask: Can you politicians make sure that the state decides who comes, not the traffickers?
“Do you control the external borders?
“No, the EU states do not have it yet. We do not have full control yet.
“Therefore, as Commission President, I want to make migration policy a top priority.”
Mr Weber, who has received the support of Angela Merkel in his leadership bid, defended the German Chancellor’s open border immigration policy.
But, he added, his country should now be focusing on the “protection” of the border.
He said: “Angela Merkel and the Germans as a whole have shown that even in a difficult situation humanity is the top priority.
“We Germans can be proud of the humanitarian achievement.
“Angela Merkel and I agree that now we are focusing on external border protection and aid to Africa.”
Mr Weber, a German politician without experience as a Government minister, has also clashed with Emmanuel Macron, accusing the French President of not being “transparent” by avoiding to name his favourite Council President candidate.
Mr Weber said: “I do not understand the criticism of the top candidate system.
“What’s wrong with telling people before the European elections who should become President of the Commission?
“I believe in the power of democracy. Angela Merkel is crystal clear.
“She says: I support Manfred Weber.
“Why does not Emmanuel Macron openly state whom he supports? That’s not transparent.
“Important personal details may no longer be decided by a handcuff.”
Council presidents have been elected since 2014 according to the Spitzenkandidat system, which sees the leader of the winning EU group at the EU elections taking the top job.
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