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EU offers new funding to help dissuade migrants from coming to Europe


06-13-2016 00:34 BJT

The European Union recently presented a new aid plan to reduce the number of African migrants arriving in Europe via Libya. It's offering up to 62 billion Euros worth of new funding to help countries cut the number of people trying to reach Europe. But not everyone is happy with the plan.

The EU's new deal offers African states aid in exchange for reducing the number of people leaving their countries for Europe. An example is this EU funded project, which rehabilitates refugees who've returned to Ethiopia. It's a carrot and stick approach - and there will be consequences for those that do not make progress.

"On the negative incentives, we must do everything to prevent that situation from happening, to avoid that debate with African states, but we need to have these tools in our pocket if they are necessary. We need that clarity in our relationships with African states," Franz Timmermans, first vice president of European Commission, said.

The deal initially offers funding to seven African countries - Ethiopia, Libya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Tunisia. But there are also plans to expand aid programmes to Sudan and Eritrea.

"This is shocking because we know already, for example, that money from projects funded by the European Union has been used to buy computers and cameras for detention centres in Sudan, in the aim of having a better migration management. The use of EU money for development policy should be to fight poverty and to fight injustice, not to buy equipment for detention centres," Head of Oxfam Natalia Alonso said.

Eritrea and Sudan are both subject to international sanctions because of alleged large scale human rights abuses. NGOs say the EU should insist on higher human rights standards in the countries that receive its aid.

Opponents of the plan also say that by trying to shift responsibility for migrants to their countries of origin, the EU is setting a dangerous precedent - which could provide countries like Kenya with an excuse to close their refugee camps.

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