FORMER Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said Europe should act as Australia has, and close its borders to migrants.
At an annual Margaret Thatcher lecture where the former Australian PM was speaking, he said “misguided altruism” was “leading much of Europe into catastrophic error”.
While Mr Abbott was prime minister, Australian borders were controlled to stop migrant boats from entering the country.
Hundreds of thousands of people from the Middle East – most recently from Syria – have fled conflicts and are seeking asylum in European countries. The UN has said most people are fleeing wars and persecution rather than arriving as economic migrants.
“No country or continent can open its borders to all comers without fundamentally weakening itself,” the former prime minister said in his first major speech since leaving his party.
He added: “There are tens – perhaps hundreds – of millions of people, living in poverty and danger who might readily seek to enter a Western country if the opportunity is there.”
Mr Abbott was addressing an audience of ministers and governing Conservative party members at London’s Guildhall.