Germany wants to tie regional aid payments made by the European Union to the number of migrants each country takes in, reports The Financial Times. Such a decision could be detrimental to the poorest countries of Central and Eastern Europe.
Currently, this regional aid, which represents a third of the long-term budget of the EU, is focused on infrastructure projects, education, and skill training for European citizens.
Berlin submitted its proposal at a preparatory meeting this week. It suggests allocating “structural and investment” funds to governments that “have assumed their responsibilities in welcoming and integrating the beneficiaries of the international protection of migrants by granting them a right of residence.”
Thus, the wealth of the EU Member States would no longer be taken into account, which means that this aid could henceforth be allocated to richer countries in northern and western Europe, since they have admitted more migrants. Germany, of course, which has itself hosted more than one million refugees since the migrant crisis began, would stand to benefit greatly from such a policy.
Germany’s proposal – being the largest contributor to the EU’s budget – is indicative of its frustration with the Hungarian and Polish governments, as well as other countries that are major beneficiaries of European funds but which have refused to accept migrants under the quota scheme introduced after the migrant crisis began.
It comes at a time when there is increasing concern in Europe about the alleged “rise of authoritarianism” in Poland and Hungary.