By Idyli Tsakiri
ATHENS (AA) - Europe can tackle the migration crisis by creating jobs in the countries people have fled, a senior German executive told an EU-Arab summit in Athens on Friday.
“We can tackle the migration problem by creating jobs in the countries people are fleeing,” Benjamin Godel, a Federation of German Industries executive, said during a panel discussion at the summit.
Ania Thiemann, head of global relations in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s competition division, said that by “making conditions more appropriate for investments, we will be creating better living conditions for the people there.”
Investors care about good infrastructure, but they also care about governance and transparent procedures, Thiemann added. “It is a package.”
Greece has been at the fore of the refugee crisis that threatened the EU’s open border arrangements and led to a rise in anti-migrant sentiment last year, before a deal with Turkey stemmed the flow of people crossing the Aegean Sea.
However, tens of thousands remain in camps in the country waiting to be processed as asylum seekers or returned to Turkey.
Meanwhile, Petros Doukas, Greece’s former deputy finance minister, described the country as “moving towards the end of the recession” but said the economic crisis that has plagued the country for six years would last a further “two tough years”.
He added: “We will see more quantitative easing and I think that the governments will start looking at superfunds [for] major infrastructures and other investments rather than throwing money out of the helicopter.”
Greece is holding a series of meetings with foreign officials and investors at the two-day summit.
Next week Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will visit and following that U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to arrive for a two-day trip.
Greece staved off bankruptcy in 2010 thanks to multi-billion dollar loans from the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission on condition that it accept harsh austerity terms including severe budget cuts and steep tax rises, as well as an overhaul of the economy.
Over the last five years, the economy has shrunk by a quarter and unemployment stands at around 25 percent.