Hanso in Jordan: Migration crisis in Europe is just tip of the iceberg ({{commentsTotal}})

An Estonian Parliament delegation, headed by chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee and soon-to-be defense minister Hannes Hanso, is in Jordan this week to visit Zaatari refugee camp, meet UN relief workers and local leaders.

Hanso told ERR radio news that upon seeing the situation in the region, it is immediately clear that migrants who have reached Europe are just the tip of the iceberg. The primary course of action should be to offer financial support to refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. This will help to avoid mass immigration to Europe, he said.

According to Hanso, most people in the refugee camps wish to return home as soon as possible and do not dream of Europe.

Jordan currently offers a place of refuge to around 1.5 million people from Syria, Yemen, Libya and Iraq, while Turkey hosts over 1.9 million and Lebanon another 1 million refugees.

"There are areas in Jordan where one in five people is a refugee from Syria," Hanso said, adding that with financial assistance from the US, the EU and the UN, Jordan has spend billions of dollars on refugee camps.

"We have to understand that if western countries don't do their utmost to help solve the problems here, in places like Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, we will later have to deal with the consequences in Europe," Hanso said, adding that Europe must give its best to avoid mass migration by helping set up sensible living arrangements.

The upkeep of one refugee in Zaatari costs around 3-4 euros a day. Estonia has so far supported Jordan's humanitarian efforts with 600,000 euros.

Zaatari refugee camp, one of the largest refugee camp in the world, opened in July 2012. It is located near the town of Mafraq, 15 kilometers from the Syrian border. The camp currently hosts over 80,000 refugees.

Editor: M. Oll

Siim Kallas.

Interview: Siim Kallas on ambitions, Estonian politics, and EU presidency

Following the local elections in October this year, Reform Party founder, former prime minister, EU commissioner, and presidential candidate Siim Kallas took on the job of municipal mayor of Viimsi, a community on the outskirts of Tallinn. In his interview with ERR's Toomas Sildam, Kallas talks about local government, his party, the EU presidency, and perspectives in Estonian politics.

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