European Council President Donald Tusk has said economic migrants will not be welcome in Europe, making an appeal not to come and warning they will they will be turned away.
Donald Tusk
© Reuters/Scanpix

Speaking after a meeting with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens, Tusk made the strongest statement on the issue that had come from a top EU official so far.

“I want to appeal to all potential illegal economic migrants wherever you are from: Do not come to Europe. Do not believe the smugglers. Do not risk your lives and your money,” Tusk said on Thursday. ”It is all for nothing. Greece or any other European country will no longer be a transit country.”

“Excluding Greece from Schengen is neither an end nor a means in this crisis. Greece is part of Schengen, of the euro area and of the European Union and will remain so.”

Tusk is hosting an emergency EU-Turkey summit next week to address the worsening migration crisis.

He is visiting Greece and Turkey this week, the key countries in tackling the issue. Tusk has said reducing the number of migrants travelling from Turkey to the Greek islands is key to avoiding a humanitarian disaster.

The EU on Wednesday proposed a €700-million emergency aid plan to help Greece and other countries deal with Europe’s worst migration crisis since World War II.

More than 25,000 migrants are now stranded in Greece as border controls further north are tightened.

Tusk said countries would no longer allow economic migrants to travel north into Germany, making a sea crossing into Greece pointless, writes Peter Spiegel in Brussels.

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