The European People’s Party (EPP) Group wanted to devote 25% of the European Development Fund - the EU's main instrument for providing development aid to African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, totalling €30.5 billion for the period 2014-2020 - directly to projects for preventing migration and helping refugees.
However, the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) and Greens rejected the EPP proposal, as they believe the EDF fund should be used solely to support cooperation activities in the fields of economic development, social and human development in line with the Sustainable Development Goals,
The left’s fear is that the money will be used for short-sighted measures, with funds increasingly being spent on tackling the refugee crisis management and border security controls, rather than fighting poverty, climate change or social inequality in a holistic sense.
The S&D “call for the EU to adopt a holistic approach to migration which covers all of the interlinked elements — from solidarity and sharing responsibility fairly between countries, to tackling criminal traffickers and smugglers, and the role of Frontex and EASO (the European Asylum Support Office).”
We must stop the undifferentiated and unfocused development aid of the past. European development money must be used more efficiently.
In 2015, European development assistance budgets rose by 16% - twice as fast as the global average. Not only that, but in the same year many European countries used a large proportion of their official development assistance (ODA) budgets to finance the reception of refugees. This reduced the amount of money dedicated to directly tackling the root causes of migration on the African continent and in the Middle East.
"The Socialists and the Greens are denying reality and are acting against the will of the citizens. We must stop the undifferentiated and unfocused development aid of the past. It cannot be that every dictator who oppresses his people gets economic support and then people flee from his country. European development money must be used more efficiently”, stressed Claudia Schmidt, european deputee from the conservative EPP group.
On the contrary, "the European Development Fund makes a vital contribution to tackling the root causes of the refugee crisis by supporting the sustainable development of those countries from which many people are fleeing”, stated the S&D Group rapporteur Iris Hoffmann.
"It is unacceptable that EU funds which aim to effectively combat the causes of migration risk being abused under the guise of the current refugee crisis. That is why we reject the call of the EPP to devote 25% of the European Development Fund for 2014-2020 on measures to combat the migration crisis and on the management of existing migration flows, including border security and repatriation of refugees”.
It is unacceptable that EU funds which aim to effectively combat the causes of migration risk being abused under the guise of the current refugee crisis.
According to experts, with the migration crisis worsening, and thousands of refugees coming in every day, the need for a short-term solution is necessary, and there need to be measures taken to help countries on the frontline like Greece and Italy. But as the Secretary general of SOLIDAR, Conny Reuter, stated in a recent post published on Caritas Europa blog, “there is the need to tackle the root causes leading to migration: the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya have led to nowhere except an increase of chaos and instability. Poverty and inequality are not really reduced yet, therefore we must continue working together to bring the Sustainable Development Goals and the new 2030 Strategy to a success”. And the SDGs has little to do with security and border controls intervention in continents such as Africa..