The EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development has told euronews that an emergency trust fund for Africa is aimed at bringing migration and development policies “closer together.”
Neven Mimica was speaking in Malta, where the fund was unveiled at the Valletta summit, attended by European and African leaders.
The EU wants to combat poverty and conflicts driving migration to Europe. The European Commission has put up 1.8 billion euros from the bloc’s central budget for the fund. The Commission wants member states to match that, but few have pledged much so far.
The money will finance projects ranging from training to schemes directly aimed at cutting emigration and tackling radicalisation and other violence.
James Franey, euronews: “Many western countries have made similar pledges to address the route causes of migration in the past, why is this different this time?”
Neven Mimica, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development: “What we really want to see now under the migration agenda is bringing much closer together migration and development policies. Which means that our ultimate goal is to come to the point where the migration will work for development and development will work for migration.
*In that context, we really have to have some more specific, more targeted instruments, like the trust fund, it truly enables us to be quite focused on the concrete projects.”
euronews: “Isn’t the issue really that a lot of these countries that people are fleeing from, Somalia, Eritrea for example, are countries which have a terrible record on human right abuses. Is there any real sum of development money that is going to change that?”
Neven Mimica: “I would say that we don’t have other choice but to run in parallel the development programmes. We cannot avoid this and we shouldn’t.
“We mustn’t stop doing this kind of development migration dialogue just because there are risks that we would not be able to really influence the human rights and the democratic environment in our partner countries.”
euronews: “So how will you monitor where this money is going, where will this money be spent exactly, will it be governments, will it be something else?”
Neven Mimica: “We do not intend and we do not plan to have direct budget supports through the government channels to finance the development projects.
“We would rather go through to our partners in implementation of these programmes and our partners are civil society organizations, NGOs and the national member states’ national development agencies.”