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Antonio López-Istúriz: Local NGOs play a critical role to meet the needs of refugees and implementing field works

Interview with the Secretary-General of the European People’s Party, Antonio López-Istúriz White about the humanitarian crisis, role of national NGOs and policy of EU.


IMPR: First of all, thank you for having time for us. How would EU and European Parliament play a role in the current and possible humanitarian crisis from you and your group’s point of view?


Mr. López: I would like to state that about the resolution of the humanitarian crisis, as EU countries, we all have joint responsibility. As EU countries, we should play an active role in meeting the humanitarian assistance towards humanitarian crisis not only at the border areas, but also outside of our border areas. Besides, there must be a humanitarian aid flow through a high level coordination both with countries who have the war inside, and with countries who are affected by the war like Turkey, Morocco etc. On the other hand, the European Parliament, who has a basic role of creating coordination among various policies developed by EU countries, can play an effective role in making joint policies because we approach with collective responsibility towards this humanitarian crisis.


IMPR: As a national NGO, we have a responsible approach towards this humanitarian crisis from the beginning of its start. Within this scope, from your point of view, what would be the role of national NGOs on developing policies that would meet the needs of humanitarian needs and implementing field works directly?


Mr. López: In my opinion, this is a very important and valuable question because local NGOs play a critical role in developing policies that would really meet the needs of refugees and implementing field works within this respect.  Yet, national NGOs have direct ties with refugees at the field. As for me, national NGOs should be supported even more and we should definitely increase the financial support towards national NGOs.


IMPR: Despite your point of supporting the national NGOs, as you know, NGOs who make direct implementation on field cannot get benefit from the ECHO program directly. Is there any possibility to develop a method to make NGOs, who are outside of Europe but have operations on humanitarian field, to take a direct advantage of the ECHO program?


Mr. López: This is more about the culture of EU. I mean, aforementioned programs are not only for NGOs but also for other sectors operating in different fields as international and national entrepreneurs.


IMPR: For the humanitarian crisis, role of international organizations has been argued nowadays. It is observed that the respond mechanism they developed towards the humanitarian crisis, especially for the last 4 to 5 years, is not open to discussion. It is asserted that some organizations could not develop a long term and inclusive approach towards the humanitarian crisis. Although the projects like Community Center and Women Community Center, which we (IMPR) implement, are determined as tools of socials harmony, the support coming from the international organizations was unsatisfactory. For you, what would be the role of international organizations?


Mr. López: International organizations, such as UN and EU, who can provide respond and who already provides respond to this humanitarian crisis should have an active role within this crisis. This is also clearly stated in our political party program. According to the political party that I am devoted to, which we form the majority, we make some questions related with the responsibilities of some international actors the current issue because EU is also fund raising to them.


IMPR: Thank you for sharing your ideas with us.

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