CONCORD, The European NGO confederation for relief and development, is extremely concerned with the EU’s agenda for the Valletta Summit.

This agenda mainly reflects its security policy and border protection concerns and prioritises this over the fundamental rights and well-being of large numbers of migrants and refugees seeking asylum and protection from war, poverty and violence, and further strengthens its approach of externalization of EU’s responsibility for refugee protection and regionalization of (return) migration governance. This agenda is at odds with the fundamental values of an open European society, based on respect for human rights and human dignity, promotion of peace and solidarity between and among nations.

We call on the EU and its Member States to seriously reconsider this approach, in alignment with its fundamental values and principles for the benefit of migrants and refugees but also for the European Union itself in regaining the support among its citizens.

CONCORD calls for a different agenda: an agenda that delivers on EU development objectives and the Sustainable Development Goals framework (including the SDG 10.7 on fair, safe and responsible migration) that EU Member States have unanimously committed to, and on the Treaty obligation for Policy Coherence for Development (article 208 TFEU). This is the way we can make migration an option, not a necessity!

This means:
* Promoting and protecting the human rights of migrants;
* Tackling the root causes of forced displacement and irregular migration;
* Maximizing the development benefits of migration by investing in inclusive development;
* Maximizing protection and asylum

Concord believes that scarce development resources should be used for stepping up international protection, tackling root causes and investing in inclusive development. ODA should therefore NOT be used for reception of asylum seekers in Europe (not even for the first year) nor for fighting people smugglers, nor for financing border control reinforcement by African countries. CONCORD believes that recovering costs to host refugees and asylum seekers from their overseas aid budgets is not acceptable.

CONCORD also wants a different agenda on migration. As European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in his State of the Union address to the European Parliament[3], this requires:
• Opening new legal channels for migration: more safe and controlled roads to Europe;
• Understanding migration as a resource for development.
Above all, CONCORD urges European and African leaders to respect and safeguard in all situations the safety and dignity of migrants!
• Promote and implement a genuine rights-based approach to migration;
• No military naval interventions to destroy people smugglers’ vessels. There is no military response to a humanitarian crisis!

Finally, we deplore the complete lack of involvement of European and African civil society in the Valletta Summit process. We hope and expect we will be allowed to convey our concerns and recommendations to the Summit participants in the Valletta.