PRAGUE (Reuters) - Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babis said on Tuesday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel bore responsibilty for the attack on a Berlin Christmas market and that migrants had “no place” in Europe.
The migration wave hitting the continent must be stopped, Babis added in comments quoted by news website parliamentnilisty.cz.
A truck crashed into the market on Monday evening, killing 12 and wounding dozens. A Pakistani asylum seeker was arrested as the suspected driver but police have said the real perpetrator could still be on the run.
Central European leaders have been among the harshest critics of the European Union’s response to the rising number of refugees and migrants entering the bloc to flee war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere and have refused EU executive-proposed quotas for asylum seekers.
Many leaders have spoken out against Merkel’s open-door migration policy and Babis raised the issue again in reaction to the attack.
“Unfortunately...(this) policy is responsible for this dreadful act. It was she who let migrants enter Germany and the whole of Europe in uncontrolled waves, without papers, therefore without knowing who they really are,” Babis said.
“Germany is paying a high price for this policy.”
Babis leads the junior government party ANO that leads opinion polls before a national election due by next October, leaving him well-positioned to become the next prime minister.
He said the best solution to Europe’s migrant crisis was financial help for states in North Africa from which people are fleeing or stopping the six-year-old war in Syria.
“The solution is peace in Syria and the return of migrants to their homes. There is no place for them in Europe,” he said.
Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Angus MacSwan