With the European Union struggling to cope with an unprecedented refugee influx, the bloc’s executive commission has called on Arab countries to do more to help asylum seekers.
In an interview with Handelsblatt, Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commission’s vice president and budget commissioner, said Arab states should offer more financial aid to the refugees, many of whom are arriving from the Middle East.
She suggested that annual charitable donations by Muslim countries could be used to plug some of the humanitarian aid gaps that have opened up as some E.U. countries have become overwhelmed by the huge numbers of arrivals.
“I’m thinking, for example, of the collection of Zakat alms in Muslim communities, through which last year alone €600 million ($682 million) were collected,” she said. “If we could mobilize even 1 percent of this for refugees, the gap in humanitarian aid for refugees would already be closed.”
Europe, for its part, is reaching its limit when it comes to aid for refugees. “We have scratched together every cent and doubled the funds for combating the refugee crisis from €4.5 billion to €9.2 billion,” Ms. Georgieva said.