The EU Parliament debated tonight its views on the EU Trust Fund for Africa established last November by the Commission and member states with the goal of ´stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa´.

The Fund will target countries in the Sahel region and Lake Chad area as well as the Horn of Africa from where a large part of migrants and refugees arriving in Europe come.

GUE/NGL MEP Marina Albiol Guzmán denounced the Fund as a measure to enforce ´Fortress Europe´:

“The Commission's proposal of a 1.8 billion euros Fund for Africa could look like a good idea for many countries such as Uganda, Mali or Senegal. But when we see the purpose of the money, it becomes a perverse and repulsive idea. It is about spending money intended for development to control the movement of migrants.”

The Spanish MEP added that Europe is subcontracting its security to autocratic regimes:

“This money will go to Eritrea, Somalia or Ethiopia to make them act as the guards of Europe's borders instead of spending it on schools, drinkable water or healthcare. We are trying to strengthen borders using poor countries, countries that are war-torn or suffering from dictatorships to serve our purposes.”

“The aim of the Fund is to bribe these countries to get them to prevent migrants from leaving or to encourage them to take them back again once they have been deported from Europe. This is blackmail – money in exchange for stopping migratory flows. We are talking about money going to governments which are in many cases corrupt and permanently violating human rights like Sudan, whose president is being sought by the International Criminal Court.”

“The focus should be on the real causes of poverty, such as exploitation and plundering of natural resources by transnational corporations, land grabbing, support for autocratic and corrupt governments, arms trade, and the terrible consequences of the payment of external debt,” Albiol Guzmán affirmed.

Similarly GUE/NGL MEP Lola Sánchez Caldentey acknowledged the efforts of the rapporteur to include in the proposed resolution many of the key criticisms of the Fund voiced by the group despite not rejecting the idea of the Fund as a whole:  

“Geopolitical interests determine where EU aid goes in Africa instead of genuine concern for the development of the countries from where migrants originate or are in transit. The Fund has very little democratic oversight and the Parliament has not played any significant role in its design and implementation. This is another example of incoherence in EU policies.”

Sánchez Caldentey criticised the decision to reallocate development money to serve Europe´s security interests: 

“Under the pretext of addressing the root causes of migration, this Fund allocates resources from official development assistance to the outsourcing of control of our borders and control of persons. Building fences to poverty and desperation is not contributing to development. I call for a greater coherence in the EU´s foreign, migration and trade policies and stand firmly behind our goals of development, aid assistance and human rights.”

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