EU pays to stop migrants

Development is no longer the primary aim as aid is used to halt refugee arrivals, argue Marissa Quie and Hameed Hakimi

The World Today Published 15 December 2017 Updated 18 November 2020 5 minute READ

In 2015, the photograph of Alan Kurdi, the dead three-year-old child lying face down on a Turkish beach, momentarily pricked consciences and silenced the clamour surrounding migrants’ ‘invasion’ of Europe. Almost three years later, the bodies of African girls are regularly retrieved from the Mediterranean, corpses litter the Sahara, and panicked young men sit on planes destined for Kabul, en route to the chaos of war. Unlike Alan, we neither know their names nor care about their stories.

The European response to the migration crisis is to tackle its root causes – poverty, underdevelopment and war – through the instrument of aid. But aid has undergone a profound revolution: no longer centred on development, it has been transformed into a tool to stem what electorates perceive to be a ‘tidal wave’ of migration.

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