Monday

20th Nov 2017

EU to make aid conditional on help with migrants

  • EU Commission is using the Turkey deal as a model for its other compacts (Photo: Internews Network)

The European Commission has unveiled plans to replicate Turkey-type deals on stemming the flow of migrants with Middle East and African states.

It said on Tuesday (7 June) that it would spend €8 billion over the next five years in development aid and other assistance for poor transit countries and migrant source countries that agreed to help stop people going to Europe.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The funds are mostly to come from member states and have not been collected yet.

“We propose to use a mix of positive and negative incentives, reward those who want to work with us, and make sure there are consequences for those who don’t, using trade and development policies to create leverage,” Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans told MEPs in Strasbourg.

The EU is to focus on what it called “compacts” with Ethiopia, Lebanon, Jordan, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.

The agreements will not be legally binding and each one will be negotiated separately, EU sources said.

Border closures in the Western Balkans and the EU-Turkey deal have stemmed the flow of people across the Aegean Sea to Greece.

But an increasing number of migrants are now crossing the Mediterranean Sea in equally perilous conditions.

The EU-Turkey deal involves taking back irregular migrants from Greece and keeping more people in better conditions in Turkish camps.

In return, the EU has resettles one refugee from Turkey for every migrant Turkey takes back. It has also promised it visa-free travel and created a €6 billion aid fund.

The other compacts will be more limited more in scope. They will not involve one-for-one resettlement or visa-free travel.

But they could involve smaller-scale resettlement and easier conditions for multiple-entry EU visas.

Other EU incentives could be ratification of international accords that serve those countries’ interests and better access to certain sectors of the single market.

Big ambition

The EU is hoping to mobilise up to €62 billion to prop up the compact deals.

This is to come in the form of a new external investment fund involving member states treasuries, the private sector and the European Investment Bank.

The Commission itself has earmarked €3.1 billion in seed money from its budget.

The €6 billion EU-Turkey fund is also mixed between the Commission and EU states. But EU countries have been reluctant to put up their €3 billion.

Arne Lietz, a left-wing German MEP who works on the development committee, told this website that EU must ensure its money is not just used for security and border protection.

“We should really give the money to tackle the root causes of migration: education, anti-corruption and good governance programs,” he said.

Speaking in the European Parliament, the Belgian leader of the liberal group, Guy Verhofstadt was critical of the Commission proposal.

Critical reaction

“We give you money and you keep the refugees - this cannot be a compact. We need real partnerships with these countries,” he said.

Ben Ward, deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Europe division told this website the Commission's proposal contained some good points, such as creating legal channels for migration and increasing protection for refugees.

But he added that extra EU money alone would not solve the “human rights drivers" of migration in the region.

International aid agency Oxfam said the EU is outsourcing Europe’s border control to third countries with tainted human rights records.

EU-Turkey readmission deal in doubt

Commission says Turkey has ratified a readmission pact linked to its EU visa-free bid. Turkish sources told EUobserver it hasn't, as talks become increasingly tense.

Merkel, Renzi agree basics of Africa plan

The German chancellor Angela Merkel backed an Italian plan on stemming migration flows from Africa, but disagrees on how it should be financed.

EU visa brake becomes top priority

EU ministers said there would be no more EU visa-free pacts until the creation of a new suspension clause in case the travel freedoms are abused.

UN criticises EU policy in Libya as 'inhuman'

The EU's policy of helping the Libyan coast guard to return people plucked from the sea is "inhuman", says the UN's human rights chief, given that most end up in dire conditions.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformErdogan's Most Vulnerable Victims: Women and Children
  2. UNICEFEuropean Parliament Marks World Children's Day by Launching Dialogue With Children
  3. European Jewish CongressAntisemitism in Europe Today: Is It Still a Threat to Free and Open Society?
  4. Counter BalanceNew Report: Juncker Plan Backs Billions in Fossil Fuels and Carbon-Heavy Infrastructure
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic countries prioritise fossil fuel subsidy reform
  6. Mission of China to the EUNew era for China brings new opportunities to all
  7. ACCASmall and Medium Sized Practices Must 'Offer the Whole Package'
  8. UNICEFAhead of the African Union - EU Summit, Survey Highlights Impact of Conflict on Education
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council Calls for Closer Co-Operation on Foreign Policy
  10. Swedish EnterprisesTrilogue Negotiations - Striking the Balance Between Transparency and Efficiency
  11. Access EuropeProspects for US-EU Relations Under the Trump Administration - 28 November 2017
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable Growth the Nordic Way: Climate Solutions for a Sustainable Future