MSF set to sacrifice £44m in EU funding in protest
One of the world’s best known NGOs will refuse to take European Union (EU) cash in protest at Europe’s refugee policy.
Aid charity Médecins Sans Frontières said it would stop applying for funding from the EU or any member governments until they reformed the way they deal with refugees.
It is expected the move will leave a massive £44 million hole in the organisation’s finances as various governments and agencies in Europe furnishes the French group with funding.
The EU made an agreement with Turkey earlier this year to send back any refugees that crossed into Greece - EU territory - and is funding the country to the tune of €3 billion for 2016-17.
The controversial agreement is expected to be replicated by the EU in the Middle East and Africa.
MSF has spoken out about a shameful European response focused on deterrence rather than assistance - Jerome Oberreit
Jerome Oberreit, international secretary general of MSF, said: "For months MSF has spoken out about a shameful European response focused on deterrence rather than providing people with the assistance and protection they need.
"The EU-Turkey deal goes one step further and has placed the very concept of ‘refugee’ and the protection it offers in danger.
"Deterrence policies sold to the public as humanitarian solutions have only exacerbated the suffering of people in need. There is nothing remotely humanitarian about these policies. They cannot become the norm and must be challenged.
"MSF will not receive funding from institutions and governments whose policies do so much harm. We are calling on European governments to shift priorities – rather than maximising the number of people they can push back, they must maximise the number they welcome and protect."
Vickie Hawkins, executive director of MSF UK, said: "Reductions in the numbers of refugees coming to Europe do not mean the problem doesn’t exist, but that we are not seeing it. Should we see a shift in European policy to one more appropriate to the scale of the problem of displacement, we will review our decision.
"We really feel it is a step we need to take to press home how serious we believe this is. We hope others will mobilise around it."