Rõivas: EU must help Syria's neighbors
Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas sent a letter to President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker in which he proposed to direct more financial support of the European Union to the immediate neighbors of the countries at war.
The support must be targeted at the improvement of the living and educational conditions of the refugees in countries like Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey, in order to reduce the urgent need of the refugees to move to Europe while endangering their own lives due to difficult conditions, the Estonian PM proposed.
“We need to review the existing resources and find options for additional funding in order to improve the living and educational conditions of the refugees in the countries where they first arrive,” Rõivas said.
According to Rõivas, this would reduce the need to undertake a desperate and dangerous journey to Europe. “Helping the refugees closer to their home enables to decrease the migration pressure on Europe,” Rõivas said.
“When taking the example of Lebanon – there are currently 1.5 million refugees from Syria alone. There is an urgent need for humanitarian assistance,” Rõivas added.
According to the UN, Lebanon needs 1.9 billion euros in order to survive the next year. Already this year, a total of 18 million people who have been affected by the crisis in Syria, need help in the amount of 7.4 billion euros.
The prime minister stressed that merely closing the internal borders of Europe does neither contribute to solving the crisis nor deal with the root causes of the refugee crisis.
Rõivas discussed the migration crisis with Juncker also by telephone on Monday, further emphasizing that the EU must significantly increase the support for refugee camps located outside of Europe and for front-line countries, such as Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey in order to help them better cope with the war refugees and improve the living conditions of the refugees.