"As many as 225,000 refuges, waiting to cross the Mediterranean, are now at the Mediterranean border between Italy and Libya, but this is impossible. Instead of being involved in charity or writing noble poems about the roots and causes of migration, we need to act so that million Africans would not embark on a journey via the Mediterranean, which very often ends up badly. That is why we, the European Commission, proposed to include Africa in the investment plan," Junker said at the plenary session of European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).
He recalled, that the European Commission was planning to lunch the new investment plan for Africa which had the potential to raise 44 billion euros ($49 billion). The plan could go up to 88 billion euros if the EU member states pitched in, he added.
"If Europe does not invest in Africa, Africa will move in Europe. Such prospect does not scare me, but it would be much wiser to make them [Africans] happier in the place they live rather than to invite them to cross the Mediterranean sea to place them in a tragic situation in Europe," the EC president added.
Europe is struggling to find a solution to a massive refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing conflict-torn countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The EU border agency Frontex detected over 1.83 million illegal border crossings in 2015, in contrast to some 283,000 in 2014.