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Monday, January 25, 2016

A ‘Juncker Plan’ for the EU’s southern neighbourhood?

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News According to First Vice-President Frans Timmermans the European Commission mulls a Juncker Plan for the Southern Mediterranean region aiming at a decrease of the influx of refugees. 

Around 1.5 million people have arrived in Europe since the beginning of 2015. The massive influx of refugees has put at risk the Schengen area, and emboldened populist forces in the EU to fight multiculturalism and immigration.

Timmermans claimed that 60% of the people coming to Europe through Turkey and Greece are migrants, not refugees, looking for better economic opportunities. European money could help to attract investment and create jobs in their home countries.

He did not clarify when the European Commission intends to present such a proposal, but Timmermans made it clear that he would not be in charge, despite the fact that he has been in the lead in dealing with the refugee crisis.

The need to add a powerful economic response to the strategy to address the refugee crisis has gained traction in recent days. Speaking at a panel discussion in Davos on Thursday (21 January), German Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble called for a ‘Marshall Plan’ for the region bordering Europe's south.

Echoing French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who warned that Europe could unravel “in a short time” if member states are not up to the challenges ahead, especially the refugee crisis and the security threat, Timmermans made a “call to arms” to fix the problems the European project is facing.

The top priority, Timmermans stressed, is the refugee crisis. 

Source :  Euractiv




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