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Europe’s development budget should be spent on people not on “barbed wire and checkpoints”, says Oxfam
Oxfam is disappointed that the EU’s planned new “Trust Fund for Africa”, intended to address migration, risks being used more for border security purposes, rather than fighting poverty and inequality.
EU Development Ministers failed today at the Foreign Affairs Council meeting to confirm publicly that the new fund would be used for bona fide development projects rather than border security and restrictions on the movement of people.
“The EU is mixing up objectives aimed at helping people who have been displaced from their homes through development cooperation, with those aimed at stopping them coming to Europe through security cooperation,” said Natalia Alonso, head of Oxfam’s Brussels office.
“The EU risks prioritizing the control of its borders and state security over the safety and well-being of people-in-need. The EU should immediately make a clear and explicit commitment, that money from the Trust Fund for Africa will be used to help eradicate poverty. The money needs to go to building schools and clinics, not barbed wire and checkpoints,” she said.
The EU Trust Fund for Africa needs effective safeguards including full transparency and accountability. The EU must ensure that 100% of its development funds are spent as intended – on rebuilding futures, helping to lift people out of poverty and in reducing inequality.”
The Trust Fund for Africa is officially called the ‘European Union Emergency Trust Fund for stability and for addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa’. The Fund is expected to be formally launched at the Valletta Summit on migration.
Oxfam is supporting the arrival of refugees into Europe with practical and logistical support in Sicily and Serbia and is soon to start work in Greece.
The Oxfam Film District Zero tells the story of Syrian refugees through their smart phones and is being shown at festivals across Europe over the coming months.