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EU Migration Minister Avramopoulos: Refugees Not Terrorists

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FILE - Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship. Photo: Eurokinissi (file)

Unable to get European Union countries to take refugees from overwhelmed Greece, European Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said they shouldn’t confuse refugees with terrorists and instead should band together.

The veteran New Democracy Conservative politician told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica that there’s not enough cooperation between EU members he said should stop bickering and share intelligence information about violent groups and jihadists.

Avramopoulos said EU government need to trust each other that “effectively sharing information is the key to fighting terrorism” and insure police officers get it.

That came in the wake of the deadly Barcelona van attacks and another terror attack in Finland although he didn’t say how it would be possible to stop lone wolf attackers with knives or using vehicles to now down pedestrians.

He said there shouldn’t undue fears there are terrorists hidden among refugees and migrants who have been barred from entering the EU and instead are being housed - some 64,000 of them - in Greece while it’s stuck in the middle of a seven-year-long-and-counting economic crisis.

“It is wrong and it is not a sign of prudence to confuse terrorists with migrants,” he said, adding that there have been very few cases of migrants participating in terrorist attacks.

“Most of the terrorists grew up in our countries, attended our schools. We need to understand why they are striking, and how to integrate them better,” he told the paper.

While he said he wouldn’t force EU countries to, as they promised, take refugees and migrants from Greece where they are seeking asylum, he appealed to them to give refugees chances to be integrated into their societies without saying how that would happen with the borders shut to them.

“We need to show them respect and understanding of their culture,” he said. To do this, he added, new policies are needed at the national and European levels although he didn’t outline any.