Europe News

The UK shouldn't take more migrants: Farage

Migrant influx putting security at risk: Farage

Following pledges from the U.K. on Monday to accept 20,000 refugees affected by the civil war in Syria, the leader of the anti-immigration U.K. Independence Party (UKIP) has warned that Britain "cannot cope" with more migrants.

"Social media may scream that we should be doing more but the vast majority of public opinion says that until we get a grip on current immigration levels, we're in no position to do anything more substantial in terms of refugees," Farage told CNBC, adding that "Britain cannot cope" with higher levels of immigration.

Farage's comments come after U.K. Prime minister David Cameron said on Monday that the U.K. would accept 20,000 refugees from Syria over the next five years, saying the country had a "moral responsibility" to help those living in war-torn Syria, particularly vulnerable children.

Read MoreUK pledges to take up to 20,000 more Syrian refugees

The migrant crisis in Europe appears to be reaching a peak after Germany and Austria decided to waive normal border checks at the weekend, leading to what German Chancellor Angela Merkel called a "breathtaking" flow of migrants into Germany with almost 20,000 migrants entering the country over the weekend alone – the same figure the U.K is offering to take over five years.

Hoping to cross into Hungary, migrants walk along a railway track outside the village of Horgos in Serbia, towards the border it shares with Hungary, September 2, 2015.
Marko Djurica | Reuters

As the flow of migrants continues throughout Europe, tensions between migrants from conflict-ridden countries in the Middle East and authorities have increased. Scuffles between large crowds of and police have broken out in countries including Greece, Spain and Hungary.

On Monday, Germany and France called on more European countries to help and said it was time for the European Union to "pull its weight." Farage believed that Europe was sending the wrong signal to would-be migrants, however.

"I'm absolutely certain that the EU has got this wrong and that the reason people are drowning is because they're being told 'please come' and I think over the longer term the biggest argument that will develop from this is about security."

"When ISIS (the terrorist group "Islamic State") say they will flood the U.K. with half a million of their own Jihadist fighters, we should listen to them…We should not allow our compassion to threaten our civilization."

Compassion Vs. Concerns

Although there has been a growing anti-immigration sentiment in Europe over the last few years, with parties such as UKIP making immigration the centerpiece of their political manifestos, public opinion in Europe appeared to shift last week following harrowing images of Syrian children who had drowned in the Mediterranean during the perilous journey to Europe, often made in unseaworthy boats or inflatables.

While those images, and the recent deaths of 71 migrants who suffocated in a truck in Austria, have prompted a more compassionate stance in Europe and particularly Germany, the U.K. public is split on how the government should help.

A poll carried out by ComRes between Friday and Sunday for the BBC program "Newsnight" showed that while 40 percent of the 1,000 people questioned were in favor of the U.K. government allowing more refugees from Syria and Libya to come and live in the country, 31 percent said fewer should be allowed to come.

Farage told CNBC he was also skeptical about the migrant status of many of those coming to Europe, saying that many migrants -- and particularly those from some African countries -- were not "refugees," given that the definition of a refugee is someone who has fled war, persecution, or natural disaster.

Read MoreBy numbers: Europe's migrant crisis

"People are very skeptical and they're right to say, 'Are these people refugees?'," he said. "We've got a tide of humanity coming over the Mediterranean…and there are clearly some cases that are genuine refugees, but an awful lot that aren't."

"This country has a tradition going back several centuries of offering refuge to people in real fear for their lives…But most people that have come to Europe in the last year have been from Somalia, Mauritania, Mali and Nigeria, these are not refugees – that is why British public opinion is so skeptical."

Germany needs more migrants: IPPR Researcher

Marley Morris, a researcher at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) thinktank, told CNBC that while Farage was right to have concerns over security, most of the migrants coming to Europe were genuine refugees that needed support.

"We need to make a distinction here from the general concerns about the net migration figures that Farage has made points about, such as the pressures on public services, and the point of compassion. I think the British public do recognise that there is a distinction between people who are coming for economic reasons and people coming for asylum because they're fleeing war-torn areas such as Syria."

- Reported by CNBC's Hadley Gamble @_HadleyGamble. Written by CNBC's Holly Ellyatt, @HollyEllyatt. Follow us on Twitter: @CNBCWorld