‘Action not words’ for refugee funds

The European Union lashed out at member countries for failing to come up with funds to help cope with the refugee emergency.

The European Commission complained that only three of 28 nations have pledged a total of just €12m to a fund to help African nations better manage their borders.

The pot is meant to total €1.8bn over two years.

The EU’s border agency and asylum office have appealed for a total of around 1,000 officers to help fingerprint people and decide whether they are eligible for asylum.

So far, about a dozen of the 28 EU nations have offered around 130 personnel.

“Words need to be matched with action,” European Commission vice president Frans Timmermans told reporters, in a message timed to reach the heads of state and government ahead of a summit in Brussels.

More than 500,000 people fleeing war or poverty have entered Europe this year, most of them via Greece and Italy, overwhelming border authorities and reception facilities.

Under the media spotlight, EU leaders pledged last month to provide hundreds of millions of euro in aid for Syrian refugees and to tackle the problem at its roots, in Africa and Turkey.

Meanwhile, former Polish prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski says refugees who have arrived recently in Europe are carrying diseases that could hurt the local populations.

The words sparked a sharp rebuke from a left-wing politician, Janusz Palikot, who slammed Kaczynski’s words as racist language that Adolf Hitler “would not be ashamed of”.

Kaczynski, whose opposition Law and Justice party is expected to win parliamentary elections on October 25, told voters in Makow Mazowiecki: “There are already signs of the emergence of very dangerous diseases which haven’t been seen in Europe for a long time: cholera on Greek islands; dysentery in Vienna; various types of parasites, protozoa, which aren’t dangerous in the organisms of these people, but which could be dangerous here.”

Meanwhile, Croatia’s conservative president Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic says her country might need to build a fence on its border to stop the migrant influx just as neighbouring Hungary has done, comments that are drawing criticism.


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