Aid group rejects EU funding in protest over ‘shameful’ migration policies

Medical aid group Doctors Without Borders on Friday said it would no longer take funds from the EU in protest at its “shameful” policies on the migration crisis, including a deal with Turkey. The charity, widely known by its French acronym MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières), received $63 million from European Union institutions and the 28 member states last year. The Nobel Peace Prize-winning MSF singled out the EU’s deal with Turkey in March to stem the biggest flow of migrants into the continent since World War II, many of them from war-torn Syria.

The EU deal is the latest in a long line of policies that go against the values and the principles that enable assistance to be provided.

MSF Secretary General Jérôme Oberreit

Under the deal struck in March, Turkey agreed to halt illegal migration through its territory in return for financial and political rewards. MSF boss Oberreit accused member states of a “shameful European response focused on deterrence rather than providing people with the assistance and protection they need.” Many EU officials acknowledge privately that the measures taken to curb migration have stretched the limits of legality but they also defend the strategy as a political imperative driven by European voters who have made clear their unwillingness to accept large numbers of migrants.

It is regrettable. MSF’s work makes a big difference. We share the concern that humanitarian principles are weakened.

Sweden Foreign Minister Margot Wallström