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Home NATIONALTreat refugee influx as opportunity: Maurer
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Wed, 13 Apr, 2016 12:07:06 AM
FTimes – STT Report, Apr 13
President of the International Red Cross Peter Maurer (L) visits a reception center for asylum seekers in Helsinki, Finland, on April 12, 2016, the right Finnish Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Lenita Toivakka. Photo – Lehtikuva.
The visiting president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer on Tuesday said the arrival of asylum seekers in Europe should be seen as an opportunity rather than a burden.
Maurer’s view is based on the facts that Europe has both an aging population and it needs more manpower.
At the same time, he pointed out that people should be helped in their countries of origin. This would avoid forced decisions that drive them from their homes to the road.
“You have to remember that countries neighbouring Syria already have more than four million Syrian refugees. Inside the Syrian borders, there are eight million people living in distress who receive no help at all,” Maurer said.
The ICRC president has travelled for five weeks across the crisis areas in Syria, Greece and Afghanistan. He has come to Finland at the request of Foreign Trade and Development Minister Lenita Toivakka. 
On Tuesday morning, Maurer visited the Ruskeasuo reception centre in Helsinki. He was impressed by, among other things, the fact that minor asylum seekers have access to school here.
“We are trying to find the best ways of doing things and to scale them globally. We know that perfection is impossible, but a good try means a lot,” Maurer remarked reflecting on the best aspects of his trip.
Maurer met President Sauli Niinistö, Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, and Foreign Minister Timo Soini in the afternoon to discuss humanitarian activities and support for the Finnish Red Cross.
Finland already provides more than 61 million euros in humanitarian aid for the world’s worst crises. 
Most of the aid, 15 million euros, will go to Syria and its neighbouring countries.
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