ROUGHLY €10 billion, or 10 per cent of the EU total budget, should be directed into a streamlined fund to deal specifically with the ongoing refugee crisis according to the German development minister.
Gerd Muller was speaking at the World Humanitarian Summit being held in Istanbul, ironically or poignantly depending on your outlook.
“We need to respond to this with new instruments and my proposal regarding the refugee crisis is that 10% of the EU budget be shifted in order to respond to this crisis,” he said, also suggesting a special commissioner be appointed to confront the challenge.
With waves of migration wreaking havoc at various European ports, spearheaded by Libyan smugglers in the south, and war in the Middle East, the crisis has undoubtedly been worsened by the EU’s fragmented response.
Germany has infuriated smaller eastern states such as Hungary and Slovakia by insisting that responsibility for integrating refugees is shared equally among EU members, and has the most to lose should the chaos continue to spiral out of control.
Muller’s suggestion comes as hundreds of riot police descend on Greece’s Idomeni refugee camp to clear an estimated 8,000 people from the crossing point at the Macedonian border.
Greece and Italy presently bear the brunt of the problem, waiting on their fellow EU countries to fulfil their pledge to relocate 120,000 refugees anxiously stranded in legal limbo.
If Germany could indeed convince the 27 other member states to divert such a significant portion of the budget to resolving the crisis, there will need to be a unified strategy.
Currently the continent is split between building more fences and walls, embarking on a vast resettlement project, or essentially bribing the Middle Eastern nations to help stem the flow.