Africa: EU development aid should not depend on migration co-operation, say S&Ds

African children hidden behind african map

The European Socialists and Democrats voted today in favour of an important report on 'the EU-Africa strategy: a boost for development' and underlined the need for closer and fairer co-operation with Africa.

Thanks to the efforts of the S&D Group, the European Parliament sent a clear message to European and African leaders – ahead of the 5th AU-EU summit that will take place in Abidjan at the end of November – stating through the report adopted today that EU development assistance should not be made conditional on co-operation in migration matters.

The S&D president Gianni Pittella MEP said:

“After years of indifference, Africa is now back at the top of the EU external policy agenda. We had to wait till the migration crisis happened and for the deaths of thousands of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea to discover that Africa is the closest continent to Europe and the future of both continents is interlinked.

“From sustainable economic development to climate change, passing through fundamental rights, demographic trends, migration, good governance and security, EU and Africa share common challenges. A fair and equal partnership between our continents is needed more than ever to overcome these challenges – in the short and long term – and guarantee a safer, more prosperous future for African and European citizens, especially young people, women and the most vulnerable in society. This is a key message that the European Parliament sent today ahead of the AU-EU Summit that will take place in Ivory Coast at the end of this month. 

“This summit is an extraordinary opportunity to strengthen EU-Africa relations, but let’s be clear: we expect a very ambitious agenda in Abidjan and concrete commitments from European and African heads of state and government to help achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goals through coherent policies. We must avoid the risk of hidden negotiations between EU and AU member states on migration and, most importantly, the European Parliament reiterates in the report adopted today that EU development assistance should not depend on co-operation over migration.”

S&D coordinator in the development committee and shadow rapporteur Norbert Neuser MEP said:

“With shared political, economic and social challenges, our African and European continents are growing ever closer together. Therefore, the AU-EU summit in Abidjan comes at a good time, as preparation for the renewal of the Africa-EU Partnership next year. The S&Ds supported legal routes for migration, access to land and water, as well as decent livelihoods for smallholder famers and sexual and reproductive health and rights, amongst other issues. Africa and Europa will deepen their diplomatic ties and jointly implement the Sustainable Development Goals.”