Wednesday

20th Jun 2018

Schaeuble: Refugee crisis to cost 'more than we thought'

  • Schaeuble: The alternative would be that "Europe becomes a fortress and that would be a disgrace". (Photo: World Economic Forum)

The refugee crisis will cost Europe "more than we thought", and a Marshall plan in the Middle East will be needed to reduce the flow of people coming to Europe, German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned Thursday (21 January).

"We need a Marshall Plan for the regions that are being destroyed," Schaeuble said during a debate at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

"We will have to invest billions into the countries of origin of the refugees in order to reduce the migratory pressure on Europe, he said.

The alternative would be that "Europe becomes a fortress and that would be a disgrace", Schaeuble added.

Last week the German minister proposed an EU-wide tax on petrol to cover the cost of addressing the arrival of migrants.

'Get a grip'

He did not however say how much money would be needed to manage the situation in Europe or help countries where refugees come from.

Speaking in the same debate, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte stressed the emergency of the situation and warned that the EU needed "to get a grip on this issue within the next 6 to 8 weeks".

The Dutch PM, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating presidency, said that 35,000 people came to Europe in the first three weeks of this year, compared to 1,600 for the whole month of January last year.

"And this is winter," he noted, adding that numbers would increase four times when spring came.

"We cannot cope with this," he said.

Rutte also pointed out that the Dublin system, in which the country of arrival is responsible for processing the asylum application, "is not working" and that "before we kill Schengen, we first have to make Dublin work".

 But "if Schengen is only a fair weather system, it cannot continue," he warned, as more and more EU countries were reintroducing border controls.

Sitting on the same Davos stage, Greek PM Alexis Tsipras insisted for his part that "the only solution" to the crisis was that all countries share the burden".

Tsipras reminded that his country was the only one standing at the crossroads of two of Europe's three main crises - terrrorism, the financial crisis and the migration crisis.

Europe's fate 'two hours away'

Europe needed "a mechanism that will help relocate refugees from Turkey and Greek islands to the rest of Europe, and we have to include all EU member states", he said.

What was needed was '"to put an end to trafficking of human beings in the Aegean sea and show refugees that they will be dealt with in a legitimate mechanism and that there is hope for them," he added.

Offering a different perspective, the French PM Manuel Valls insisted on the need to face the terrorist threat outside Europe.

"Europe has to realise that its fate is only two hours away from its main capitals," he said, referring to the Sahel region in Africa and Libya as well as Syria.

"The Mediterranean problems are not something that concern only the Mediterranean [EU] countries," he said. "We have to move away from this selfishness and give ourselves the means to meet up to the historical challenges."

Germany proposes EU petrol tax to pay for refugees

Germany's finance minister, Wolgang Schaeuble, has proposed an EU-wide petrol tax to cover the costs of the refugee crisis, while saying Europe is moving to slowly on tackling the issue.

Tusk sets EU two-month deadline on migrant crisis

The EU Council president has warned that the March summit "will be the last moment to see if our strategy works". He also said he would soon "table a concrete proposal" for a deal with the UK.

EU summit set to outsource asylum

Draft conclusions of the EU summit seen by this website suggest setting up "regional disembarkation platforms", possibly in countries near Libya, to separate asylum seekers and economic migrants.

Opinion

Fate of EU refugee deal hangs in the balance

Europe's choice is between unplanned, reactive, fragmented, ineffective migration policy and planned, regulated, documented movements of people, writes International Rescue Committee chief David Miliband.

Opinion

EU summit: migrants get a 'vote' too

Non-citizens from Nigeria to Afghanistan get a binding 'vote' on whatever the EU's internal debates submit to them. They will vote with their feet on whether to keep trying their luck when faced with a new system.

News in Brief

  1. PES to announce 'spitzenkandidat' names in October
  2. Macedonian parliament ratifies name deal
  3. EU to hit US with import duties from Friday
  4. Commission: New on-road CO2 test would take years
  5. Juncker orders migration 'mini-summit' on Sunday
  6. Luxembourg gave illegal state aid to energy firm
  7. Negotiators lower finger printing age of refugees to six
  8. EU to lift its internal data storage barriers

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  3. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  4. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  6. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  10. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  11. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network

Latest News

  1. How to get around the EU posted workers directive
  2. EU needs comprehensive 'sexuality education'
  3. Fate of EU refugee deal hangs in the balance
  4. Merkel, Macron in pre-summit pledge on migration, eurozone
  5. Hungary to push ahead with 'Stop Soros' law on NGOs
  6. Swedish party puts EU referendums back in fashion
  7. EU summit set to outsource asylum
  8. Dutch request to clarify Brexit Britons' rights annulled

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us