European Union officials are mobilizing billions of euros for investments in “sustainable infrastructure” to create jobs and keep Syrian refugees in the Middle East, according to officials.
Top EU officials told reporters at United Nations headquarters in New York City they’d allocated $3.7 billion in their budget, and through the European Development Fund, to fund infrastructure projects in the Middle East and Africa to slow the wave of refugees making their way to Europe.
“We have a new global awareness, an understanding that migration can only be dealt with as a global issue,” Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign affairs chief, said, according to Climate Home.
“We have a duty to invest in that awareness,” Mogherini said, adding the EU wanted to mobilize $49 billion from the private sector and even more from member countries.
Climate Home reported the “idea is to give businesses the confidence to invest in fragile states that might not otherwise be seen as profitable, building sustainable infrastructure and creating jobs.” That means building things like sustainable infrastructure projects in Jordan.
Jordan is home to 1.3 million Syrian refugees, and lacks the basic infrastructure to keep them their. Millions of refugees have fled the Syrian civil war, which environmentalists have blamed on global warming.
Turkey has taken in millions of refugees, and many of them have made their way into Europe. The U.N. estimates more than one million refugees have sought asylum. So far, nearly 800,000 refugees have settled in Europe.
EU politicians have promised to take in more refugees, but the influx of young Muslim men has sparked backlash in some countries.
British voters overwhelmingly supported a plan to leave the EU, known as “Brexit,” in June. The vote, driven largely by concerns over immigration and national sovereignty, threw Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron from power and rocked the political establishment.
In France, National Front Marine Le Pen has gained prominence by opposing allowing more refugees into the country, especially in the wake of the Paris terror attacks. Le Pen is looking to win the country’s next presidential race.
Now, EU officials are trying to ward off political backlash against refugees by spending tax dollars to keep refugees from Syria in the Middle East.
“Investment in development is morally right, but it is also in our own interests; it is investment in stability and security for all,” EU budget czar Kristalina Georgieva said.
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