Submitted on August 29, 2017, an amendment to the European Union 2018 budget plan discusses the necessity to develop distributed ledger technology (DLT) to manage the EU’s refugee crisis.
Proposed by the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs the budget amendment specifically relates the EU’s 2017 pilot project, “Horizontal Task Force on Distributed Ledger Technology,” which was created in response to a 2016 report. The amendment notes that refugees may be excluded from the existing banking system due to a lack of documentation. In addition, lack of identification may restrict access to other vital social services, like healthcare, legal protection, and educational resources for children. Due to the “distributed and resilient architecture” of DLT, the 2018 budget amendment directs the project to explore the use of DLT to resolve this issue: “The pilot project should assess and benchmark best approaches in using DLT based solutions for control of frontiers and to manage the situation of refugees.”
In 2017, 850,000 euros were allocated to the project, but only 425,000 euros were issued in payments. In 2018, the proposed amendment would allocate for an additional 575,000 euros to the project, bringing the projected total allocated and paid for that year to 1,000,000 euros.
The committee justifies the proposed amendment citing a necessity for legislators to expand their technical expertise and capacity,
“to understand fully the technology, its potentials and implications in order to avoid harmful decisions. To avoid stifling innovation or the materialisation of (systemic) risks, it is essential to build up sufficient capacities and technical excellence.”
By exploring a DLT-based solution to assist refugees, the EU commits itself to both progressive technology development and humanitarian efforts.
Jeremy Nation is a writer living in Los Angeles with interests in technology, human rights, and cuisine. He is a full time staff writer for ETHNews and holds value in Ether.