UKIP leader Gerard Batten has accused the European Union of blackmailing member states into accepting migrants from "Islamic countries", amid boos and jeers from fellow MEPs.
“You used the emotional blackmail argument of talking about helping defenseless refugee families. And yet, the reality is that the vast majority of these migrants are young men from Islamic countries,” said Gerard Batten, the head of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) on Wednesday while speaking in the European Parliament. “This is not immigration – this is invasion!”
He went on to say that, by giving in to uncontrolled migration, the EU leaders “turned many parts of Europe into foreign countries.”“Heroic struggles of the siege of Malta and at the gates of Vienna have now been replaced by abject surrender,” told Batten, referring to Ottoman assaults on the Mediterranean island and Austria’s capital in 16th and 17th centuries.
Batten’s harsh remarks prompted a strong reaction from fellow MEPs, some of whom responded with loud booing and jeering. Shouts of “rubbish!” and “come on!” could be heard from the audience as the UKIP member spoke. Some applause and cheers were heard as well, as he began criticizing the way the EU handles crucial problems.
The EU was always about creating an “undemocratic state” and “transferring political power to Brussels”, Batten said, blaming German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the EU bureaucrats for the mismanagement of the migration crisis. “The European Union is responsible for many of the problems that beset Europe, and your solution is always the same – to have more power.”
UKIP is an anti-migrant Euroskeptic party, best known for its role in steering British voters towards Brexit in 2016. Four years ago, UKIP topped the polls during the European Parliament election in Britain.
The European Commission tried to tackle the influx of migrants and refugees from Middle East and Africa by setting up a mandatory quota system, assigning the number of refugees each EU member state had to accept. The proposal received heavy criticism from several EU states, like Austria and the Czech Republic, while Poland and Hungary refused to implement the quotas altogether.
The latest defiant stand came from Italy when it banned a migrant rescue ship from entering its port. The Italian government, formed by two anti-establishment parties, Lega Nord and the Five-Star Movement, said the EU isn’t doing enough to help Italy in dealing with migrants.
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