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Monday, 23 October 2017

Juncker: Member states contributed too little to Africa Fund

Speaking to the press after the first round of talks at the EU summit on Thursday (19 October), Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned that EU action was “reaching its limits” due to insufficient financing. “We are reaching our limits when it comes to this Emergency Trust Fund for Africa,” Juncker said. “We started by saying that we would take €1.8bn in our hands in order to be helpful to Africa, then we increased this to €2.5, then to €2.9, then to €3.1bn, money the Commission was providing by restructuring the existing budget. Member states have so far committed €175m, this is clearly not enough,” he stated. Close to €3bn worth of development funds have been pooled together through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, to strengthen border control, improve migration management, foster resilience and create new job opportunities in 26 African countries. However, as Juncker said, this money has been taken form the existing EU budget, and development professionals have warned against diverting development money from long-term programmes to ad-hoc measure to stop migration.The figures provided by the Commission are indeed speaking for themselves. Countries have provided much less than pledged, and some contributions are indeed symbolic. For example, Germany has pledged €51m and provided €23m, France has pledged and provided only €3m, Belgium has pledged €6m and provided €3m. Countries from eastern Europe have pledged and provided minimal amounts: €50,000 from Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, €70,000 from Hungary and €100,000 from Romania. In contrast, Estonia has provided €1,450,000, which is more than Portugal (€700.000), Ireland (€1.2m) or Poland (€1.1m). Italy is a special case, with the highest contribution of €92m so far, but it is also the country which has itself had to take measures to stop the uncontrolled arrival of migrants. EU leaders agreed yesterday to provide “stronger support” to Italy for its work.

Source: Euractiv