EIB President Werner Hoyer participated in the ‘International solidarity conference on the Venezuelan refugee and migrant crisis’ hosted by the European Union (EU), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Brussels.

It is estimated that, so far, 4.3 million Venezuelans have fled because of the political turmoil, socio-economic instability and humanitarian crisis in their country, a crisis defined by the UN as the largest exodus in modern history. The conference aimed to raise awareness and mobilise support in addressing this crisis, and to demonstrate the international community’s solidarity with the affected migrants and host countries.

Speaking at the event, President Werner Hoyer stressed the importance to deliver a strong and combined response to the crisis: “All of us assembled here this morning are united in our efforts to mitigate the pressures caused by the Venezuelan migration crisis. I assure you today that the EU bank will do its part to support the External Action Services and the European Commission in delivering a joined-up European response.

During his intervention, he also outlined the Bank’s support towards the Latin American countries hosting Venezuela’s migrants.  “Three months ago I visited Colombia and met with President Duque who described the immense pressure on local public services and how Colombia is responding to it at different levels. I can only praise the welcoming efforts made by the Colombian Government, as well as by the countries that have shown great generosity and solidarity in receiving migrants. We are in advanced negotiations with the Colombian authorities to strengthen the social infrastructures most affected by the crisis, blending our financing with grants from the European Commission’s Latin America Investment Facility,” said President Hoyer.

As one of the largest multilateral lenders in the world, President Hoyer reiterated that the EIB is well placed to support the region in its long-term planning with a focus on local integration.

It is not our role as the EU bank to curb or stop migration but to strengthen economic resilience. We do this by investing in sustainable and inclusive growth in countries of origin, host and transit communities, to make countries more capable of withstanding shocks. We are not equipped to deal with immediate humanitarian needs, but we can make a difference by supporting sustainable employment opportunities, enhancing financial inclusion and investing in infrastructure and climate action,” said EIB President Hoyer.

As an example, he presented the positive impacts of the EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI), the EU bank’s tool to support resilience of both host and hosted communities in the Southern Neighbourhood and Western Balkans regions. Mr. Hoyer also highlighted the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs)’ platform on Economic Migration and Forced Displacement led by the EIB since 2018, which provides best practices related to migration management.

Moreover, President Hoyer confirmed the EIB readiness to support the region in his closing remarks: “We are in close contact with our colleagues from the IMF, World Bank, and Inter-American Development Bank, who are conducting a needs assessment on Venezuela. Should the situation improve, we will be ready to act, as it is an eligible country of operation for our Bank.”

Read President Hoyer’s full speech at the International solidarity conference on the Venezuelan refugee and migrant crisis’