The European Union has said it is ready to cover the significant part of the enormous cost of the devastating earthquakes that hit more than 10 million people in 11 provinces through a high-level donors’ conference with the participation of the international community and global relief organizations on March 16 in Brussels.
European Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi and Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade of Sweden, Johan Forssel, as the term president of the EU, held talks with senior Turkish government officials about how to design the donors’ conference and coordinate EU’s future assistance to Türkiye.
They met Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank, Treasury Minister Nurettin Nebati and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu with whom they organized a press conference for late afternoon.
“Unfortunately, the situation is much worse than we see it,” Varhelyi said at the press conference, noting “This is why we are here. We will help to mitigate the effects of the earthquake not only in the short term but also in the long term.”
Recalling that both the EU and member states rushed to Türkiye’s help immediately after the earthquake and saved lives under the rubble, Varhelyi stressed, “But of course our help doesn’t stop here.”
The donors’ conference will aim to mobilize a global action for the help of Türkiye and Syria which surely need a significant amount of assistance, the commissioner said, underlining that Brussels is ready to cover a significant part of the earthquake cost. “We need a global action. As the EU we will be quick, flexible, relevant and helpful.”
Forssel, for his part, stressed Sweden, as the term president has been active in the immediate aftermath of the earthquakes that hit Türkiye. “Today my main message is solidarity,” the minister stressed, underlining that assisting Türkiye, as a close partner, is now the priority of his government.
On a question, Forssel informed that the donors’ conference is planned to be high-level and inclusive but didn’t detail whether it will be at the level of ministers or heads of state or governments.
Çavuşoğlu, in his remarks, thanked the EU for the initiative. “The EU has shown serious solidarity with us in our difficult time. I want to thank the EU member and candidate states as well as the European institutions,” he said.
The minister said they discussed the modalities of the donors’ conference to be held in Brussels. “An issue we agreed today is that these aids should be flexible and relevant,” Çavuşoğlu said. “In many places we will build new cities,” he informed, underlining that the EU funds can be utilized for this purpose.__Daily Hurriyet