Ahead of the European Council of 20-21 October 2016, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) released a joint statement which raises serious concerns about the recent direction of the EU development cooperation towards migration management: the initiative aims to address the discussion that will take place at the upcoming meeting of the European Council and that will take stock of the comprehensive approach to migration while the EU 2017 budget is under negotiation.
The joint statement is based on the acknowledgment that lately the EU development cooperation is geared towards migration management purposes: migration is considered as a ‘problem’ to be ‘solved’ or a ‘threat’ to be stopped and this has caused a notable shift in the EU development funding directed to address the root causes of migration.
In light of this trend, the NGOs highlights that a migration-sensitive approach to development cooperation, which promotes a long term investment of political and financial resources by the EU in protracted refugee situations, is surely positive.
However, what arouses concerns is the fact that the Europe’s development programming appears to be completely reoriented towards migration management and towards the country of origin and transit of refugees and migrants.
In particular, one of the key worries is whether the funding is being channeled to the right actors for the right purposes: the statement warns that the border management “at all cost” could lead to or encourage human rights abuses.
Another concern is that the shifting of EU development funding for migration management could not ensure adequate funding and investment to some countries.
Due to these developments, the statement recalls that the European development cooperation policy goal is the eradication of poverty as stipulated by the Lisbon Treaty and call for a human rights-based approach:
“Aid is for the benefit of people in need and to promote human rights, and should not be used to leverage migration control”.
“It is essential that all of this funding is disbursed based on strong criteria rooted in human rights- based approaches to development cooperation and on need rather than on political expediency”.
Download the joint NGO statementYou might be interested in other: News Positions