Thursday, October 30, 2008

CONCORD condemns using aid for immigration control

Source: Concord Flash, nr. 58, 2008

While European and G8 countries are failing to deliver on their international aid commitments, European Development NGOs are deeply concerned about linking immigration control and development cooperation.

On 7 and 8 July 2008 the French Presidency submitted a draft European pact on immigration and asylum to its partners at the informal meeting of justice and home affairs ministers in Cannes. This draft pact suggests that migration should
become an important element in all the Member States’ external dealings. It invites Member States to sign agreements on migration and development with countries of origin or transit.

“These agreements, which bring the fight against illegal immigration and development under the same framework , have allowed France and a few other OECD members to use aid to put pressure on developing countries when negotiating tough readmission agreements. Generalising this negotiating tactic at European level could be very damaging for developing countries” explains the Vice-Chair of Coordination SUD (the French national NGO platform) who is responsible for European issues.

“Linking development policies with migration entails a clear risk of undermining the focus on the eradication of poverty and inequality in the poorest countries. Europe cannot tie the allocation of aid to developing countries to progress on legal or illegal migration and readmission. Whilst EU Member States may sign agreements on migration with third countries, these should not become conditions for development cooperation” says Olivier Consolo, Director of CONCORD, the European confederation of relief and development NGOs.

CONCORD calls for aid programmes to retain poverty eradication and sustainable development as primary objectives, in line with the European Consensus on Development and the Maastricht Treaty. While many countries of origin for migration flows are currently suffering from a food shortage, European aid must support essential social services, agricultural development and poverty eradication rather than the capacity of these countries to control their potential migrants. Aid must not be retargeted on the fight against “illegal immigration” in countries of origin or transit.

For further information contact Melis Alguadis

See the Euforic newsfeeds on Concord and on migration