EU budget: Don’t use development aid for controlling migration

In its draft budget for 2018 presented today, the European Commission suggests to divert substantial amounts of development aid towards migration control.

Reacting to the news, Oxfam’s EU aid policy advisor Hilary Jeune said:

“Instead of addressing the actual needs of people in developing countries and ensuring everyone can live in safety and dignity, the Commission suggests to invest in border security to stop migration.

“The EU must not divert development aid from its goal of eradicating poverty. Throwing money at migration control will mean supporting some governments who we know act against human rights. Development aid is meant to help the poorest people, not promote what the EU thinks is its own interests.”

Notes to editors: 
  • The EU’s external action receives financing from heading 4 of the EU budget, ‘The EU as a Global Player’.
  • In the draft budget for 2018, the Commission suggests to reduce the total funds in heading 4 by 232 million euros, i.e. 5.6%, to 9.593 billion euros. This money is used as a “margin” in the budget to support migrants in Turkey, if needed.
  • The most important budget line for development, the ‘Development Cooperation Instrument’ (DCI), is now earmarked entirely for “contributing to the fight against the root causes of irregular migration”, instead of exclusively focussing on poverty reduction.
  • This is contradicting the EU treaties which determine that poverty reduction and eradication should be the primary objectives of development cooperation. The EU’s recently adopted new framework for development policy renewed the EU’s commitment to poverty eradication, gender equality, climate change and food security.
Contact information: 

Florian Oel | Brussels | florian.oel@oxfam.org | office +32 2 234 11 15 | mobile +32 473 56 22 60

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