EU Pledges Aid to North Africa, Middle East Amid Potential Migration Crisis

In the midst of political revolts across North Africa and the Middle East, the European Union says it is ready to provide assistance to support democratic and economic transition in the regions.

“We’re ready to put together real support,” EU foreign affairs chief, Catherine Ashton, said after a meeting of foreign ministers on Monday (Feb. 21) in Brussels.

>> EU Spearheads Plan for Global Response to Arab Revolts

Political revolts have overthrown authoritarian regimes in Egypt and Tunisia, and are now sweeping across Libya, Bahrain and Yemen.

In a statement, EU foreign ministers committed “support packages” for the regions but did not provide specific amounts of aid money, Bloomberg reports.

The statement also stressed the need to combat illegal migration. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini raised concern that his nation is most vulnerable to the influx of refugees from North Africa.

“Italy, as you know, is the closest neighbor both of Tunisia and Libya so we are extremely concerned about the repercussions on the migratory situation in the southern Mediterranean,” Frattini said.

Some €2.8 billion ($3.8 billion) in EU aid for 10 North African nations is planned for 2011-2013, down from €3.3 billion in 2007-2010.

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  • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.