Wednesday

25th Jan 2017

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"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."

Focus

No opt-outs on migration, says Malta

For the Mediterranean country that just took the EU presidency, the migration crisis is still there and must be addressed internally and externally.

News in Brief

  1. VW's internal Dieselgate probe not yet done
  2. Israel defies EU policy with huge settlement expansion
  3. Martin Schulz to be candidate for German chancellor
  4. EU commission gives MEPs Dieselgate paper at last moment
  5. EU parliament committee backs EU-Canada deal
  6. UK MPs must vote on Brexit trigger, court rules
  7. Greek island mayors plead for the transfer of migrants
  8. Tzipi Livni cancels Brussels trip amid war crimes probe

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsKyrgyzstan: no Justice for Human Rights Defender Azimjan Askarov
  2. Dialogue PlatformThe Influence of Turkish Politics in Europe After the Coup Attempt
  3. World VisionEU Urged to do Better Ahead of Helsinki Conference on Syria
  4. Caritas EuropaEU States to Join Pope Francis’s Appeal to Care for Migrant Children
  5. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  6. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  7. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  8. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  9. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  10. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  11. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  12. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism

Latest News

  1. No Turkey-type migrant deal with Libya, says EU commission
  2. EU to Trump: Protectionism is 'doomed to fail'
  3. The French town that swung from socialist to far-right
  4. UK parliament must give Brexit approval, judges rule
  5. 'No indication' VW used EU loans to cheat
  6. Fillon promotes pro-Russia views in Berlin
  7. Dutch PM tells people to 'act normal, or go away'
  8. EU to step up effort against Russian and Islamist propaganda