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EU leaders fail to look beyond migration

Brussels –  EU leaders gathered in Brussels on 18th October for the European Council. The ONE Campaign released the following statement responding to the Council conclusions:

Friederike Röder, EU and France Director at The ONE Campaign, said in response to the Council conclusions:

“EU leaders are once again being short sighted when looking to our neighbour Africa. They say EU-Africa relations are of “paramount importance” and that cooperation should be taken “to a new level, underpinned by the necessary resources”, and then in the same conclusions they decide to use development aid for the return of migrants. This is not in line with the treaties that clearly set out that the primary objective of aid has to be the fight against poverty, and aid should therefore not be function of another policy.

It is disappointing to see how rhetoric is not being followed by action. The EU’s next seven-year budget should be leveraged as the key tool to put Europe on track to end poverty, achieve the SDGs and build a partnership with Africa. Europe’s development aid needs to go to catalytic sectors such as health and education and target youth and women, particularly in least developed countries and fragile states. It is paramount that Europe meets its international commitment to allocate 0.7% ODA/GNI by 2030 and increase aid to €140bn, focused on fighting extreme poverty.

Röder, added:

“Africa seems to be an afterthought for EU leaders. In fact, today, during the press conference following the European Council, leaders almost forgot to mention their discussion on Africa.

EU High-Representative Federica Mogherini said yesterday at a public hearing on the future of development aid: “if Africa fails, there’s no way Europe can succeed” describing EU’s investment in Africa as the “smartest one Europe can make for our own security and our own stability”.

However, actions speak louder than words. And so far what we are hearing is not being backed up by actions. EU leaders need to realise this before it is too late. Aid conditionality is something from the past, what we need is mutual commitments. If we want an equal partnership with Africa, the EU needs to look towards the future, and should start by meeting its international commitment to allocate 0.7% ODA/GNI by 2030.”



Note to editors:

18th October European Council conclusions:


18th October press conference:


Statement from Federica Mogherini: