Kalobeyei settlement in Kakuma Refugee Camp in North Eastern Kenya. Photo: Klaus Bo / Danish Refugee Council

ECRE: Europe is outsourcing responsibilities

ECRE members express concern at annual conference: Deal after deal, Europe is outsourcing its responsibilities for refugees


Agreements such as the EU-Turkey deal cannot be a blueprint for what the EU does on refugee protection. It is clear that the deal is failing on the most basic level: the respect for the human rights of people fleeing war and persecution.

EU externalisation policies also make refugees – and the human rights violations against them – invisible to the European public. ECRE believes that it is critical to counter this dangerous trend by retaining human rights as a key objective of all European external action.

“The EU is now a global diplomatic actor as well as the world’s biggest donor and a major player in the humanitarian sector. Europe has the normative power to significantly improve the situation of refugees,” says Catherine Woollard, ECRE’s Secretary General.

“It could do so much more to ensure refugee protection in regions of origin, through promoting stability, resilience and human rights. But never as an alternative to the right to asylum in Europe.”

ECRE seriously doubts that this deal-making approach will be effective. And overall, the credibility and identity of Europe depends on it being true to its values. Collectively, Europe must therefore assume its fair share of global responsibility for refugee protection.