Joint NGO statement ahead of the European Council of 20-21 October 2016

At the upcoming European Council on 20-21 October, European Union (EU) leaders will discuss the latest developments and progress on the EU comprehensive approach to migration. This discussion comes at a time when the EU is negotiating the 2017 budget and embarking on discussions on the Mid-Term Review of the Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF) and the next European Consensus on Development.

PICUM is part of a group of NGOs which addressed EU leaders in a joint statement ahead of the European Council meeting.The group notes a wholesale re-orientation of Europe’s development programming towards migration management- a Policy Coherence for Development in reverse- and towards those regions, from which migrants or refugees originate or through which they transit. While this increase in attention and funding to fragile contexts can contribute to development objectives, a key concern is whether this funding is being channeled to the right actors for the right purposes.

In particular, they are concerned that EU policy and funding could lead to or encourage human rights abuses through border management “at all cost.” They are also concerned that countries that do not “supply” migrants, but that are equally in need from a development perspective, will not receive adequate funding and investment due to shifting of EU development funding for migration management purposes.

Aid is for the benefit of people in need and to promote human rights, and should not be used to leverage migration control.  EU funding should be transparent and adhere to clearly established principles, such as the Busan principles on effectiveness and the Paris principles of ownership by and alignment to partner countries’ strategies. 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.

Finally, the group of NGOs is also concerned about what signals the EU discourse on migration control gives to the rest of the world regarding EU intentions and the seriousness with which the EU takes its human rights principles and development commitments.

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