Europe’s refugee crisis

China’s help in EU refugee crisis would be welcome, says German ambassador to China

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 October, 2015, 11:24pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 January, 2018, 3:39pm

Any contribution by China to help address Europe’s refugee crisis – whether financial or political – would be “welcome” and “appreciated”, the German ambassador to China  said.

“Any contribution from China’s side would be more than welcome,” Michael Clauss said in an interview with the South China Morning Post.

“We see that some countries – like Canada and the United States – are ready to take in refugees, while others, like Japan, are helping financially. Significant contributions from China would definitely be appreciated in Europe and Germany.”

READ MORE: After Xi Jinping's visit to Britain, German Chancellor Angela Merkel keen to show she 'knows China best'

Germany, alongside its European partners, is facing one of its biggest challenges in decades, tackling a massive inflow of refugees – mainly from Middle Eastern countries, particularly Syria – after German Chancellor Angela Merkel last month opened the country’s doors to them.

Despite urgent talks held by the European Union to pressure the western Balkan countries into contributing more towards alleviating the crisis, conflicts and discontentment remain.

Voices have grown louder globally for China to do more to help address the flow of refugees travelling along the western Balkans migration route, especially as winter approaches and the refugees face extremely harsh conditions.

“It would be up to China to decide if it can do more or what it can do,” Clauss said. “Financially, the UN and other international actors need more support running the refugee camps.”  

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Commerce  said the Chinese government would contribute 100 million yuan (HK$122 million) in humanitarian aid to Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.

China contributed US$14 million in humanitarian aid to %Syria over the past 461/2 years, according to figures from the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. This compared with US$4.2 billion from the US, US$1 billion from Germany and US$1.5 billion from the UN.

Maybe there is a role for China to help solve politically the difficult situation in Syria
German ambassador to China Michael Clauss

Foreign  Minister Wang Yi  said earlier that settling political issues was the fundamental way  to end the unrest in Syria. He called for the convening of the third UN-backed Geneva conference on Syria – which brings together all parties involved to discuss peaceful resolution of the conflict – and the resumption of an inclusive political transition process.

“Maybe there is a role for China to help solve politically the difficult situation in Syria, with a lot of parties fighting each other, but also outside powers like Iran, Russia and Saudi Arabia being involved,” Clauss said.

Germany, which takes in about 40 per cent of the EU’s refugees, “cannot solve the issue alone”, Clauss said.

“It is a challenge for Germany and all European countries. We have to find a common answer, based on our common values, particularly based on European solidarity,” he said.