The EU is proposing to spend up to ten percent of its budget on the immigration crisis. The Guardian reports:
The German development minister, Gerd Müller, said the EU’s current mechanisms for responding to the refugee crisis were not fit for purpose, and suggested appointing a special commissioner to lead a combined European refugee strategy, as well as other global humanitarian challenges.
“We need to respond to this with new instruments and my proposal regarding the refugee crisis is that 10% of the EU budget be shifted in order to respond to this crisis,” said Müller, speaking on the sidelines of the world humanitarian summit in Istanbul.
[…] This official would be given jurisdiction over 10% of the EU’s budget, or roughly €10bn (£7.6bn), which would be diverted from other parts of the EU’s existing income.
Meanwhile, Politico.eu reveals that other EU leaders are mulling a multi-billion euro investment fund for states, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, from which refugees come:
The European Commission is preparing a new proposal to spend billions in public and private money to stop migration before it starts, by boosting investment in countries of origin, mainly in Africa.[..]
The plan would include spending up to €60 billion, mostly raised from private sources but with an EU contribution of around €4.5 billion, according to media reports. But diplomats said Monday that no final figure had been decided.
Mogherini told reporters at a meeting of EU foreign ministers on Monday that she and Timmermans hope to get approval for the plan from EU leaders at a summit on June 28.
In the context of the refugee crisis, “investment” in sub-Saharan African countries (or other countries of origin) is fast coming in practice to mean bribing the local government to do the kind of deterrence work Europe would rather not do itself, often by blunter means than Europeans would employ, out of sight and out of mind. The precedent was set by the EU-Turkey deals; since then, Libya and a host of other nations have been clamoring for something similar.
Meanwhile, as we noted the other day, Germany now estimates it will spend €93B domestically on refugee matters by 2020. Other bills will come due in other states, and if, as seems likely, the Europeans discover that they have overestimated the extent to which the Middle East’s education system trains workers for the modern economy and underestimated other costs, these bills will likely be even higher than reported.
All of which makes us wonder: what would it have cost instead to have pursued rational military strategies in Syria and Libya? What would it cost even now? The Russians are spending something in the neighborhood of $3-15B per year in Syria, to great effect. A similar, one-off Western investment in 2012 could have forestalled a great humanitarian disaster, kept geopolitical order, and helped far more Syrians than this more expensive, less productive efforts ever will. Even now, direct intervention in and engagement with Libya or Syria could do more to help than these costly yet desultory proposals. But that would involve Europeans doing icky things like dropping bombs, rather than handing out “aid.”
In the early years of the American republic, when U.S. diplomats were being extorted for bribes by members of the French court, the American public embraced the slogan, “Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute.” Confronted today by the prospect of never-ending shakedowns from the weaker, poorer, failing states on its periphery, Europe’s response seems to be, “Billions for tribute, but not one cent for defense.”