Wednesday

25th May 2022

EU-financed migration projects ignore human rights

  • The European Court of Auditors issued a critical report on how the EU spends money on migration projects (Photo: Images_of_Money)

EU-funded migration projects in North Africa and Eastern Europe have not achieved their goals and have broadly ignored human rights, the EU's financial watchdog says.

In a 70-page report out on Thursday (17 March), the European Court of Auditors found that respect for human rights "remains theoretical and is only rarely translated into practice".

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

“EU spending on migration in the neighbourhood countries will only be effective if clear objectives are set," said the report's author Daniele Lamarque in a statement.

The broad criticism comes in the run-up to an EU summit with Turkey that seeks to rapidly return rejected migrants from Greek islands to Turkey.

The auditors looked into 23 EU-funded projects on migration between 2007 and 2013 in Algeria, Georgia, Libya, Moldova, Morocco and Ukraine.

The projects, with a total contract value of €89 million, were intended to feed into the priorities outlined in the EU's Global Approach to Migration and Mobility (GAMM).

Those priorities included setting up close partnerships and "further regional integration".

But the lack of clear objectives, overly complex governance, and bad coordination by EU institutions and others involved in the projects undermined the goals.

The auditors noted that EU delegations heading the projects had no migration experts, and specialists hired by the European Commission did not show up to work.

"None were in post in any of the neighbourhood countries or in any mobility partnership partner country at the time of the audit," says the report.

It says the EU commission headquarters in Brussels, at times, had also neglected to follow up on recommendations on how to best implement local projects.

Few of the audited projects had any result indicators to measure achievements.

Returns and readmission projects broadly failed to deliver because they were regarded by the receiving countries as part of the EU's security policy.

The security aspect made it "hard for them to accept" while EU states neglected to prepare migrants for their return home, the report states.

Lack of oversight and accountability also means the auditors have no idea how much of the total €1.4 billion over the period was actually spent.

The auditors were only able to account for €304 million, owing in part "to weaknesses in the commission's information systems".

The EU's diplomatic branch, the EEAS, along with other department heads in the commission, are responsible for finances.

The EU commission, for its part, says the report pre-dates projects under the Jean-Claude Juncker mandate.

"Things have changed, the report is outdated and does not seem to be in synch with seeking the solutions we need in the current crisis. At the time of the report we did not face the issues we face now," it said in a statement.

EU to offer less than Turkey expected

No new accession chapters to be opened and no cast-iron promise of extra money on top of an earlier €3 billion, according to draft summit conclusions seen by EUobserver.

Feature

Hungary sets dogs on non-Ukrainian refugees

Orbán's government is still beating up and pushing back non-Ukrainian migrants, including one Lebanese man who fled the Ukrainian war zone to Europe.

News in Brief

  1. France 'convinced' Ukraine will join EU
  2. Von der Leyen: Russia hoarding food as 'blackmail'
  3. Legal action launched against KLM over 'greenwashing'
  4. Orbán refuses to discuss Russia oil embargo at EU summit
  5. Turkey's Erdogan snubs Greek PM
  6. ECB: Crypto may pose a risk to financial stability
  7. UK PM Johnson faces renewed questions over Covid party
  8. Sweden gives 5th Covid shot to people over 65, pregnant women

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. Orbán oil veto to deface EU summit on Ukraine
  2. France aims for EU minimum-tax deal in June
  3. 'No progress in years' in Libya, says UN migration body
  4. Toxic pesticide residue in EU fruit up 53% in a decade
  5. Orbán's overtures to Moscow are distasteful and detrimental
  6. The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth is back
  7. EU aims to seize Russian assets amid legal unclarity
  8. Close ties with autocrats means security risk, Nato chief warns

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us