The continuing refugee crisis that has engulfed Syria for the past few years is one that has offered a number of options. However, many of those have been met with firm opposition by members of the other side of the political aisle.
One of those individuals that has offered his perspective on the issue is controversial billionaire George Soros. In a September 29 article on Marketwatch, Soros laid out his plan to deal with the proposal to offer asylum, while also offering a rebuke to the European Union (EU) for their handling of the situation.
Stating that the EU needed to look at things from a broader perspective and launch a comprehensive plan, Soros suggested expanding the base of potential asylum countries from beyond simply Europe, and that it be worked out with other countries through the auspices of the United Nations.
Soros then offered six parts to his plan:
- The first would require the EU to accept a minimum of one million people seeking asylum and offer them the equivalent of $16,800 to cover the basic costs of housing, education and health care. Funding for the project could be done by issuing long-term bonds.
- Next, the EU should provide leadership in helping resettle refugees in Middle Eastern countries like Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon. Those countries were specifically chosen because nearly four million refugees are currently located there, though Morocco and Tunisia were also potential options.Such an annual commitments would entail approximately $9 billion per year, with a consortium of the EU, United States and other countries providing the funding.
- One specific agency and border guard to deal with the refugees should be established, instead of the 28 currently in place. In the latter situation, bureaucracy and differing rules cause ample confusion.
- Refugees currently in Italy and Greece should be allowed to reach their ultimate destination as quickly as possible. Setting up a processing center in Turkey would help expedite the process.
- The financial and setup aspects that the EU creates should be transplanted in other areas across the world to simplify the process.
- Sponsors need to be designated by the EU to expedite absorbing the million people per year. This contingent can include church groups and businesses, with technological assistance also a valuable component.
During the course of his career in finance, Soros has been an part of attempting to expand philanthropic interests. According to Forbes, some of that philanthropy has occasionally become intermingled with politics, which has led to severe criticism related to some of his funding options.
That funding comes from his Open Society Foundations, with much of the opposition to him coming from American conservative media members.