PRIME Minister David Cameron is ready to provide almost half a billion of the UK’s aid budget for stopping migrants and refugees flow to Europe.
The Tory leader is willing to offer a massive £275million in taxpayer’s cash to Turkey over the next two years to help it cope with the refugee crisis.
The generous budget adds to the massive £200million pledged to help African countries address problems which have driven migrants out of their home countries – bringing the total offered to a staggering half billion pounds of taxpayers’ cash.
Mr Cameron will also urge African nations to accept more returning migrants who have tried to enter the Europe illegally.
An insider said: “The Prime Minister will be emphasising to the Africans that they have got to work with us on returns. We welcome the co-operation they have shown so far but it’s very important that we develop the situation where we are able to return illegal migrants who arrive in the Mediterranean.”
The extra support for Africa and Turkey came after the Prime Minister vowed the UK will play a “huge and historic role” in helping to tackle the migration crisis, including stepping up efforts to “smash” gangs of human traffickers.
He branded the migration crisis as “the biggest problem facing Europe today”.
A Number 10 insider said: “They have got two million refugees, it has cost them almost seven billion euros to date and we think there is much more the EU can be doing there, alongside the work we have been doing in Jordan and Lebanon.
“So we are going to say that we would be willing to provide up to £275million over the next two years as part of a stepped-up contribution from European countries to help Turkey.”
Turkey’s support will be set out as EU leaders gather for a meeting after a major international summit on the migrant crisis in Malta.
Demonstrating the scale of the challenge facing the Ankara government, the source said Turkish coastguards had picked up a staggering 63,000 migrants this year.
They added: “We are sat in the western Mediterranean which was the focus at the start of the crisis but in recent months the focus has been on the eastern and the route from Turkey to Greece where you see a lot more of the numbers of Syrian refugees as opposed to the route where we are sat today, which is more illegal migration.
“We remain really concerned about that route and the support that we should be providing to countries in the region.”
The UK cash could be used to fund new refugee camps and provisions for those left homeless by the conflict in Syria and would also help Syrian refugees stay closer to their homeland – which has been torn apart by the bloody civil war and the rise of ISIS.
The source said: “The more you contain the problem in and around Syria so that if and when you find a solution on Syria it’s easier for people to go home.”
The fund is to be used to maintain the “small-scale industry” selling rafts to migrants trying to leave Turkey for Europe.