On the occasion of the EU leaders meeting, taking place in Valletta on February 8-9, CONCORD expresses its concern that Official Development Assistance (ODA) is increasingly used for the promotion of European migration and security interests. This is policy incoherence in its worst form, ignoring the EU Treaty obligation for Policy Coherence for Development and the 2030 Agenda’s commitment to Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development.
CONCORD strongly regrets that the EU policies on migration and development continue towards two priorities: sending people back and keeping people “there”. These policies are in flagrant contradiction to the humanitarian values and principles that the EU is founded upon. At the Valletta Summit and in its aftermath, African countries have met with increasingly aggressive “carrot and stick” approaches that have pressured them into accepting readmission and return agreements, compromising the human rights of migrants and refugees.
Recent moves to use development aid to tackle Europe’s own migration, security and economic challenges at the expense of the world’s poorest are not the answer. We denounce the EU’s agenda of mainstreaming migration management into development cooperation and to outsource border controls to the African continent. In addition migration management shall not be precondition for granting development aid or trade preferences to partner countries. By the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the EU has committed to spending aid to reach those traditionally left behind first.
We call for a more coherent and systematic consultation with African and European civil society on the implementation of the Valletta Action Plan and subsequent bilateral agreements. Over the last year it has become clear that the EU and its member states are prepared to go very far in order to prevent people from coming to Europe to seek asylum or in search of a better life. A number of controversial cooperations have been initiated and only days ago the decision to cooperate with Libya was taken, which could have grave consequences for human rights. This leads us to question the commitment of the EU to ensuring that human rights and the rights of refugees and migrants are upheld.
A detailed analysis of the meeting’s outcomes will be published in the following weeks.