Comment by the Information and Press Department on Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn’s remarks
Lately, a propaganda campaign in a number of EU media outlets over Russia’s purported involvement in the escalation of the migration crisis that has affected the European Union has gone into overdrive. As always, this information is not only unsubstantiated by facts but is at odds with them. However, this is hardly surprising, since such allegations fit in very well into the shortsighted policy, which is pursued by certain circles in Europe and the “agitprop” media outlets that they control, towards demonising Russia and accusing it of every sin imaginable.
Apparently, Johannes Hahn, the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, has also decided to make a contribution. In an interview with the online version of the Zeit German weekly on February 26, he hinted at the upcoming increase in the influx of migrants along the northern, so-called Arctic or ice route from Russia to Finland and Norway. According to Hahn, Central Asians who have lived in Russia for years as labour migrants have already started moving into the European Union posing as refugees. What’s more, they have apparently set out on this journey for a reason. In his vivid imagination, the politician reads this as a kind of a political signal (I don’t think there’s any need to explain who, in his view, has put them up to this). A number of mainstream European media outlets and “experts” gladly picked up this “curtain raiser” and expanded on Mr Hahn’s “revelations” with their own conjecture as to Moscow’s desire to exert pressure on the EU by sending refugees from Central Asia and then from the Middle East at a time when other channels will be closed to them.
Now a few facts. Since the end of November 2015, the so-called Arctic route has been followed by about 5,500 people from the Middle East and North Africa. According to the Norwegian Ministry of Justice, this accounted for just 18 percent of the total asylum seekers (31,000 people). Just as the migration situation on the border began to worsen, a dialogue was established with Norway through diplomatic channels and interaction between border commissioners at the Borisoglebsk-Storskog border checkpoint was intensified. As a result of our business-like and constructive efforts, the situation has now normalised. Not a single refugee has entered Norway via this point since December 2015. According to the Federal Security Service Border Service, there are no citizens from third countries – potential asylum seekers in Norway – in the town of Nikel.
Migration issues are also being addressed in a constructive and mutually respectful manner with the Finnish authorities. By the way, in 2015, no more than 1,000 migrants entered Finland from Russia, whereas, for example, there were 30,000 such people from Sweden.
The figures speak for themselves and only confirm that the mythical concern about the “hand of Moscow” behind Europe’s migration crisis is little more than idle speculation by a number of political forces in Europe who are not loath to lay at someone else's doorstep the blame for their inability to cope with this problem, which is the result of an entire spectrum of factors – from irresponsible policy in the Middle East and North Africa to the EU’s shortsighted migration policy.
1 March 2016