As European and African leaders gather in Abidjan, tensions over migration continue to simmer. Since 2015, the EU has developed a range of initiatives aimed at reducing migrant arrivals from Africa. The most controversial of these has been the Migration Partnership Framework (MPF). With its emphasis on keeping people out and sending them back, its bilateral and transactional approach to engagement with African partners, and its explicit use of positive and negative incentives, the MPF epitomises the most disturbing trends in EU migration policy.
The EU is currently in the process of revising its overarching vision on development policy, the European Consensus on Development. This process requires an honest examination of some of the contradictions that have emerged between, on one hand, the EU’s development commitments and principles and its long-term interests in a building a genuine partnership with Africa for sustainable development, and, on the other hand, a growing trend towards using development aid for short term security and migration management priorities. These tensions are clearly highlighted in the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) which was established at the Valletta Summit in November 2015.