Ambassador: ‘Europe is not going to become a Muslim continent’
President Trump’s belief that immigration is “changing [the] culture” of Europe is wrong, the European Union’s ambassador to the United States said Friday. “Europe is not going to become a Muslim continent any time soon,” Ambassador David O’Sullivan said at the Aspen Security Forum. “This is not an issue in Europe.” As Washington Examiner writes in an article "Ambassador: ‘Europe is not going to become a Muslim continent’", Trump expressed that worry repeatedly during his recent trip to the United Kingdom, when he lamented to British media that Europe is “losing its culture” due to an influx of refugees and illegal immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East.
Those comments led to a public disagreement with British Prime Minister Theresa May during their joint press conference, when the two leaders addressed a topic that has strained diplomatic relations within the European Union. “Allowing the immigration to take place in Europe is a shame,” Trump told The Sun. “I think it changed the fabric of Europe and, unless you act very quickly, it’s never going to be what it was and I don’t mean that in a positive way.”
May, asked to comment on his remarks at a time when her government was struggling to unify around her plan for how to negotiate Britain’s exit from the EU, touted the United Kingdom’s “proud history” of embracing immigrants. “And over the years, overall immigration has been good for the U.K.,” she said. “Of course, what is important is that we have control of our borders. What is important is that we have a set of rules that enables us to determine who comes into our country. And of course, that is what, as a government, we have been doing for a number of years and will be able to continue to do in the future.”
Trump, speaking moments earlier, disagreed and alluded to the consequences of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to admit approximately 722,000 Syrian refugees into the country in late 2015 and 2016. “I think that’s very much hurt Germany. I think it’s very much hurt other parts of Europe,” he said. “And I know it’s politically not necessarily correct to say that. But I’ll say it and I’ll say it loud. And I think they better watch themselves because you are changing culture. You are changing a lot of things. You’re changing security.”
That view is a “gross exaggeration” of the difficulties arising from immigration to Europe, O’Sullivan maintained. “We have an issue of integration; we have an issue of how we accommodate not just new arrivals, but even people who came 20 or 30 years ago, longer,” he said. “This is a challenge, I recognize this. We've seen this. We haven't always managed this in the best way. But frankly, to suggest that this is somehow a threat to European culture and civilization in my view is a gross exaggeration.”