‘Multiculturalism has failed’: Russia says the EU has ‘wilfully ignored’ the differences in culture between Islamic migrants and Europeans

  • Head of Russia’s Federal Migration Service has accused EU of failing to create unified strategy to integrate refugees
  • He said the EU was caught ‘unprepared’ when thousands of migrants first starting arriving on the Continent last year
  • Also said it was a ‘mistake’ to offer refugees ‘generous benefits without integrating them into the labour market’
  • Comes as five migrants including baby drowned as they continued to ignore warnings not to cross Mediterranean 

Konstantin Romodanovsky, head of Russia’s Federal Migration Service, said ‘multiculturalism has failed’ because Europe never formed a unified strategy to integrate refugees into Western society.

He said: ‘The European Commission left it up to individual nations to decide how they want to treat asylum seekers – despite the fact the policies and capabilities of member states are very different.

‘The EU does not have an effective system for registering incoming migrants or effective mechanisms for deporting illegal immigrants.’

Plucked to safety: Christian Erdwienz helps a woman from Afghanistan to board the rescue cruiser Minden in the Mediterranean between Turkey and the Greek island Lesbos as migrants continue to make the perilous journey to Greece in the hope of resettling in Europe

About 35 refugees from Afghanistan sit on board the rescue cruiser Minden on the Mediterranean Sea between Turkey and Lesbos

As a result, he claims the EU was caught ‘unprepared’ when hundreds of thousands of migrants first starting arriving on the Continent last year.

He also accused leaders of ignoring the ‘differences in culture, religious traditions, and customs’ with the refugees, the vast majority of whom are Islamic.

He told RT: ‘Practicing family reunification and offering refugees generous benefits without integrating them into the labor market, the EU did not expect that such a great number of people would claim these rights.

‘This was clearly a mistake. The policy of multiculturalism has failed.’

He pointed to the mass sex attacks by gang of migrant men on women in Cologne.

He said: ‘Note the defiant behavior of refugees and their growing claims and demands. What happened in Germany on New Year’s Eve is a striking example of this.’

Members of Turkish emergency services rescue migrants on a boat after they attempted to reach the Greek island Lesbos in the Agean Sea

First aid team members give medical attention to refugees after a boat carrying migrants sank in the Aegean Sea near Turkey

Members of Turkish emergency services save migrants on a boat after they attempted to reach the Greek island Lesbos in the Agean Sea

The body of a refugee is seen at morgue of Ayvacik Hospital after a boat carrying migrants sank in the Aegean Sea off Turkey's western province of Canakkale

His comments came after it emerged Brussels was seeking a deal with Vladimir Putin to stop fuelling the influx of migrants into Europe.

A sharp rise in numbers entering the continent from Russia has led senior officials to plead with Moscow for help.

It comes despite warnings that, by bombing Syria and fuelling the flow of refugees, Russia is ‘weaponising’ the crisis to ‘overwhelm’ and ‘break’ Europe.

Meanwhile, migrants continued to ignore warnings about that their hopes for quick access to a better life in Europe would fail.

Many still gathered on Turkish beaches and piled into boats today for the risky crossing to Greece.

Five, including an infant, drowned in the attempt. Those who did reach Greece faced an uncertain future.

Already tens of thousands are stranded in the country, with many camped in muddy fields with only sporadic access to humanitarian aid.

And with the Greek-Macedonian border closed they have no hope, at least for now, to embark on the so-called West Balkan route northward which had been the path for those wanting to resettle in the EU’s more prosperous nations.

A man stands with an umbrella in a camp set by migrants at the Greek-Macedonian border near the Greek village of Idomeni

A migrant girl holding an umbrella stands in rain at the Greek border camp near Idomeni. After nearly three days of rain, conditions in the refugee camp on the Greek-Macedonian where about 14,000 people are stranded have deteriorated significantly

A migrant walks in a mud at a makeshift camp on the Greek-Macedonian border, near the Greek village of Idomeni

As EU interior ministers met in Brussels on the crisis, Austria urged migrants to give up hope of moving on.

‘The Balkan route is closed,’ Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner told reporters.

‘The biggest problem is that these refugees still have hopes and expectations and these hopes are being constantly fed.’

More than one million migrants have come to Europe in the past year, most of them to Greece by boats from Turkey, where millions fleeing war, persecution or abysmal poverty have gathered.

Once bused to the Greek mainland from their island arrival points, most headed to the border with Macedonia, and then onward to Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, the entry point to Austria and other prosperous EU nations.

Passage through those countries began being restricted last month.

On Monday, countries along the Balkan route decided to allow through only people with valid EU visas.

Refugees block the railway to protest the restriction of admissions to Macedonia as they wait at a makeshift camp on the Greek border

Migrants covered in blanket walk in the rain at the Greek border camp near Idomeni, Northbound borders are closed and authorities plan to distribute fliers telling refugees seeking to reach central Europe that there is no hope of them continuing north

A migrant covered in plastic sheet tries to keep warm at the Greek border camp near Idomeni

Nearly 42,000 people are now stranded in Greece, including some 14,000 people camped out near the crossing, many in pup tents.

Torrential rain has added to the desperate conditions at the site, with tents sinking in mud and soaked firewood making it impossible to start camp fires.

Government health experts at the camp say there is no sign yet of an infectious disease outbreak, but have been urging refugees at Idomeni to move to nearby army-built shelters.

Authorities say some 70 children at the camp have received hospital treatment over the past three days for fever and diarrhea.

EU and Turkish leaders agreed at a summit Monday to the broad outlines of a deal that would see migrants arriving in Greece having fled war or poverty would be sent back to Turkey unless they apply for asylum.

For every migrant sent back, the EU would take in one Syrian refugee, thus trying to discourage people from setting set out on dangerous sea journeys, often arranged by unscrupulous smugglers.

In the latest deaths, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency said five migrants, including a three-month-old baby, drowned when their speedboat sank Thursday off Turkey’s western coast, on its way to the Greek island of Lesbos.

The agency said nine people were rescued from the boat carrying Afghan and Iranian migrants.

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