European leaders skirt around main migration responsibilities at EU meeting, says Oxfam

Published: 23rd June 2021


Today, European heads of state and government met in Brussels to discuss migration policy and EU-Turkey relations. They called for the intensification of ‘mutually beneficial partnerships and cooperation with countries of origin and transit’ while also condemning and rejecting ‘any attempts by third countries to instrumentalise migrants for political purposes’.   

In response, Raphael Shilhav, Oxfam EU’s Migration expert, said: 

“We welcome European leaders calling on third countries to stop using migrants as pawns to gain political concessions. We would also welcome it if European leaders practiced what they preached and refrained from playing political games at the expense of peoples’ lives. Using development aid as a political tool to serve only European interests is not mutually beneficial and reveals the EU’s real priorities. 

“This week, as we mark World Refugee Day, Oxfam calls on the EU to do more to ensure refugees and other people seeking safety can rebuild their lives. European leaders should have used this opportunity to discuss creating fair and efficient asylum processes, improve the shameful conditions in EU reception centres and end the violent pushbacks. They did none of that. EU leaders must not turn the issue of human rights into political bickering and must instead focus on helping people seek safety.” 


Notes to editors

Oxfam and the Greek Council of Refugees recently issued a report about pushbacks in Greece.   

Spokespeople are available to comment. 


Contact information

Jade Tenwick | Brussels, Belgium | | mobile +32 473 56 22 60     

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