In the run-up to a non-formal meeting of EU development ministers, Germany’s Gerd Mueller, is trying to lobby for more involvement of the member countries in solving the worldwide refugee country. He added that simply “raising fences” is far too little. The German development minister therefore calls for more money and more staff in order to deal with the “worst refugee crisis in 50 years”. Mr Mueller thinks that the refugee issue will keep on challenging us more than ever. Tackling the crisis, however, does not require only quick action now but also “structural changes” in the long term, he thinks. During an information discussion among the development ministers, which took place yesterday (15 July) in Florence, Mr Mueller proposed an immediate action plan that would require the funding of about a billion euros.
The German minister spoke about various options of how refugee and development aid could be tailored, saying that “we cannot walk through the world with a watering can”. Bundling could, in his opinion, free up some funds for preventing and tackling ongoing refugee crises. He added that the problem cannot be simply solved by “taking more people in here” emphasizing that although it is important to be generous in helping refugees, Germany is in his view already doing quite a lot in this matter.
The EU’s policy of “building fences” that Minister Mueller describes as not sufficient is also the main focus of the recent report of Amnesty International. The report states that between 2007 and 2013 the EU spent about 2 billion euros on “building fences” such as border checks and surveillance systems but only 700 million euros were spent on the development of the asylum process and the enhancement of the situation of asylum seekers. The secretary general of Amnesty International, Selmin Caliskan, commented that “it is macabre that the European Union is spending billions on sealing itself off and not a single cent on joint rescue of refugees in the Mediterranean Sea.”