Asylum seekers in the EU | Photo: Picture-alliance/Nur Photo/N.Economou
Asylum seekers in the EU | Photo: Picture-alliance/Nur Photo/N.Economou

While much of Europe is seeing decreasing numbers of COVID-19 cases, the German development minister has warned that the pandemic has yet to reach its peak in some developing countries. More aid is necessary, he said.

German Development Minister Gerd Müller warned Wednesday that Germany may see a new "wave of refugees" from poorer countries because of the coronavirus pandemic. He announced that Germany has earmarked €3 billion for aid to developing countries.

"We in Europe are beginning to get the virus under control, but in other parts of the world the virus is still all-encompassing," Müller told German broadcaster RND. "I'm afraid that the peak has not been reached yet in many developing countries."

He said that if the virus was not yet beaten worldwide then it could return to Germany "like a boomerang."

"Then our successes in fighting the coronavirus pandemic will be worth nothing, not to mention a new wave of refugees," he added.

Müller identified Yemen as a particularly worrying case, where civil war and famine have left the healthcare system in tatters and millions of people at risk of serious consequences as COVID-19 spreads through the

Müller gave the example of Iraq, where the German government is financing five new hospitals for 14,000 patients and Ethiopia, of where Germany is helping to coordinate job creation in the manufacturing of cloth masks.

Müller calls for €50 billion for Africa

On the day Germany assumed the presidency of the Council of the European Union, Müller also criticized the EU budget assigned for aid to developing countries. The European Commission has pledged over €1 trillion ($1.12 trillion) to help member states recover from the virus over the next seven years.

"The EU has only assigned €1 billion per year to Africa," Müller pointed out. "That is blatantly inadequate."

"That is not the way to overcome future problems to do with the pandemic, climate change and economic recovery for the rapidly rising African population," Müller added. "That's why I am calling for a €50 billion 'Recovery and Stabilization program' from the EU."

He also pointed out that 25 million people in African countries work in the tourism sector, and Europe should allow tourism to reopen to certain African countries as soon as it is safe.

Author: Elliot Douglas

First published: July 1, 2020

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