EU Parliament Rejects More Money on Migration: Diversification of Aid Needed

Written by | Monday, May 2nd, 2016

The European Parliament said at the end of April that it was not eager to increase spending from the European Development Fund (EDF) on the migration crisis, in its effort to shield development and aid spending from securitization. The migration crisis has forced the European Union and its Member States to rethink its international aid contributions as much of the EU funding and national aid budgets is now being used to deal with the refugee crisis, border controls and fight against terrorism. Given this re-direction of the aid budget, money is being taken away from much-needed projects related to health, education and food security in poor countries.

On Thursday (28 April), a cross-party majority criticized the fact that European development aid is being centered on the migration crisis. The center-right EPP group had presented a measure to officially re-direct up to 25 percent of the EDF to measures and policies that deal with migration. MEP Claudia Schmidt, an Austrian Christian Democrat (EPP group), and rapporteur on the bill, commented that “we need to fight the root causes of migration more. European development aid needs to be used more efficiently to prevent future migration.”

However, the Socialists and Greens jointly ensured that the proposal did not pass. Ms Schmidt said that both parties were “denying reality and acting against the will of the citizens.” She also stressed that “We must stop the undifferentiated and unfocused development aid of the past. […] European development money must be used more efficiently”. For both Socialists and Greens, allocation of more of the development budget to the migration crisis is unacceptable. The European Development Fund has a budget of around €30.5 billion for 2014-2020, which is around 30 percent of the EU’s total external aid budget. The fund is one of the key instruments of cooperation between Europe and the developing countries of Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

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