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European Council’s measures on migration: ineffective, costly and against Human Rights

Brussels,  29 June 2018 – CONCORD, the European Confederation of development NGOs, is worried by the political directions endorsed by the European Council’s decisions to continue lowering the number of migrants’ arrivals to Europe. Putting all the stakes in ring-fencing the EU  and reinforcing our borders to stop migrants may easily be proven to be ineffective and a breach to founding European values.

By strengthening the return policy, opening centers and continuing the implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement, Europe is clearly following a logic of crisis relief, putting disproportionate emphasis on external border protection, returns and possible external processing centers.

Nevertheless, more than 80% of displaced persons are hosted in developing countries and the number of arrivals to Europe is decreasing [1].

« Europe doesn’t live a migratory crisis, but a political and ethical crisis in which migrant people are criminalised and political discourses are built on fear towards the “others”.

Any proposal of ‘controlled’ centers in which people in transit are locked up for the simple reason of migrating is oppose to Human Rights. »

Andrés Amayuelas
President of Coordinadora – Spanish platform of development NGO

The recent bilateral deals, like the EU-Turkey Deal and the EU’s cooperation with Libya, illustrate the instrumentalisation of the crisis-responsive programmings developed in favour of the EU’s and its Member States’ self-interest. Not only are these deals diverting EU aid from development priorities but they are putting lives at risk and disregarding the EU’s own standards and values. The 500 millions euro promised for the EU Africa Trust Fund are no additional resources but taken out from the development budget which should be dedicated to development priorities [2].

The only way to respond to this political crisis is to agree on a clear responsibility-sharing agreement within the EU first. This responsibility does not appear in today’s conclusions. The issue of migration should be addressed through global cooperation and equitable partnerships aimed at finding sustainable, long-term solutions for those that need it most.

« It is irrational to think that natural arrivals will completely cease, ‘Fortress Europe’ is not a realistic goal, but an extremely expensive one – looking at the planned Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF 2021-2027) of the EU.

External border protection does not mean Europe can eliminate the possibility to seek asylum upon arrival, thanks to the universal and regional Human Rights conventions its Member States are party to. »

Fanni Bihari
CONCORD Migration expert from ACT Alliance EU

CONCORD is ready to be in a dialogue with EU institutions on such a comprehensive reform which requires a long-term vision and an evidence-based approach.


[1] Statistics from the Italian Ministery of Interior:

[2] RECOMMENDATIONS ON NEW FUNDS TO THE TRUST FUND: Policy briefing from CONCORD: “What EU member states and EC should remember while committing new funds to the EUTF for Africa” – 22 June 2018