VIENNA (AFP) - European Union counter-terrorism chief Gilles de Kerchove on Friday called for greater vigilance by EU borders agency Frontex, saying Islamic militants could infiltrate posing as refugees.
The warning came as more than 50,000 people sought political asylum in Europe in 2014, a 44 per cent hike over the previous year.
Twenty per cent of those applicants were Syrians, the Eurostat agency said.
"We must be vigilant. It is relatively easy to enter into the European Union when one joins an influx of refugees," de Kerchove said on the sidelines of a ministerial meeting in Vienna.
De Kerchove, a Belgian, said although Europe was currently being targeted for attacks by individuals claiming to act on behalf of Islamic State, it was also not safe from attacks by Al-Qaeda seeking to "show that they are still out there."