The EU should take immediate steps to tackle the ongoing refugee crisis, Verhofstadt said. Based on the EU treaty, member states can establish a European Refugee Rapid Emergency Force (ERREF) without changing existing rules which would avoid wasting precious time.
Since Greece cannot effectively monitor its borders, the European Commission proposed to set up EU-sponsored units of coast and border guards to control the Greek-Turkish border.
The decision should be made as soon as possible — during an EU Council meeting on February 18, the Belgian politician argued.
"Europe is in state of emergency and this requires emergency measures. Let's not wait another three months to get a grip on the border between Turkey and Greece; Europe has to manage it now with an emergency force of 2000 border guards," Verhofstadt said, according to the website Diplomatic Intelligence.
Verhofstadt said that this 3 billion euros should be used as direct financial support to help people living in refugee camps in Turkey, instead of being given to the Turkish government.
The Belgian politician believes that if living conditions in refugee camps were improved, refugees would no longer attempt to take the dangerous route across the Aegean Sea to reach Greece.
"The main reason why people leave these camps and attempt a dangerous crossing is the fact that they have to survive there with $7 per month. If we increase this amount, they can improve their living conditions in the camps," Verhofstadt said, as cited by Le Vif.
The EU is currently struggling to manage a massive refugee crisis, with millions of people fleeing conflict-torn countries in the Middle East and North Africa to Europe.