The legality of the road building project in Eritrea funded by European Union (EU) under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa has been questioned on the territory of the European institutions over the past week. On 14 February, the European Commission Directorate General on International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) held a Round Table meeting with several NGOs and on 18 February, the Committee on Development (DEVE) of the European Parliament dedicated a part of its agenda to the EU development aid in Eritrea. During both events representatives of the European Commission, civil society as well as members of the parliament were presenting their points of view.
In this week’s news highlights: Additional €60 in EU funding for road project in Eritrea despite criticism for use of forced labour; Spanish authorities allegedly sent back asylum seekers illegally; Eight important developments in the last decade that impacted migration; Fine withdrawn for captain of rescue vessel; Migrant deal EU-Sudan possibly contributes to abuse migrants and refugees; Red Sea-bordering countries establish a regional council; Ambassador to Eritrea becomes new Ethiopian minister of foreign affairs; Funding to Libya in hands of militia; Shelling close to refugee facility in Tripoli; Libyans increasingly try to cross the Mediterranean Sea; Drawings of circumstances in libyan detention center; UNHCR officials accuse asylum seekers of setting fire in a refugee camp in Niger; And 300 people intercepted at the Algerian coast.
“In 2019, the EU began to use the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa to support the procurement of equipment for a road building project in which it accepts that national service labour (i.e. forced labour conscripts) may be used. How will the Commission independently monitor the human rights impact of its funding, including working conditions?” Member of the Parliament, Michèle Rivasi (Greens/EFA), asked this written question to the commission on November 4. As of yet, Rivasi did not receive a written reply. Despite the criticism, the EU keeps funding projects in Eritrea and seems unable to defend its decisions.