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NGOs warn EU against opening ‘dark chapter in its history’ on migration

Development Policy

NGOs warn EU against opening ‘dark chapter in its history’ on migration

NGOs have labelled the Commission's plan as "contrary" to its commitments to development cooperation.

[Freedom House/Flickr]

More than 100 NGOs have called upon the European Commission to put a stop to its controversial migration plan. EurActiv Germany reports.

The executive’s plan sees trade deals, development aid and other financial tools being used to limit the number of migrants reaching Europe from third countries. “We propose to use a mix of positive and negative incentives to reward those third countries willing to cooperate effectively with us and to ensure that there are consequences for those who do not,” said First Vice-President Frans Timmermans. EU leaders will discuss the plan this week at a summit being held in Brussels.

The NGOs have criticised the EU for focusing solely on curbing migration through its foreign policy and highlighted that this undermines the bloc’s credibility and authority when it comes to defending human rights. The organisations therefore called upon the member states to reject the Commission’s proposal.

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The joint declaration was signed by 104 organisations from the fields of human rights, humanitarian aid, medicine, migration and development cooperation, including Amnesty International and Oxfam.

The coalition of NGOs said that the EU’s wrangling will torpedo foreign policy based on human rights and vandalise the right to asylum worldwide, adding that the plan provides no safeguards to ensure human rights and the rule of law. The risk is that agreements struck with governments on migration will breach international law.

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French MEP Jean-Luc Schaffhauser has blamed billionaire George Soros for having financed the “humanitarian infrastructures” that helped open Europe’s doors to uncontrolled flows of migrants, and for making money from the EU’s destabilisation.

The NGOs are also concerned that the Commission’s proposal will see development aid used as a tool to try and stop migration. “This is unacceptable and contrary to the EU’s commitment to development cooperation and the target of eliminating poverty,” read their statement.

As they called upon EU leaders to reject the plan, they instead urged the member states to develop a long-term sustainable migration system. “The EU, a project that was built on the rubble of a devastating war, is preparing to open a dark chapter in its history,” the NGOs warned.