16 Jun 16 09 Jan 17

MSF to no longer take funds from Ireland and EU

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) announced today that it will no longer take funds from the European Union and Member States, in opposition to their damaging deterrence policies and intensifying attempts to push people and their suffering away from European shores.

This decision means that MSF will no longer accept any funding from the Irish government through its overseas aid programmes. This decision will take effect immediately and will apply to MSF’s projects worldwide.

“MSF has been treating the medical consequences and witnessing the inhumanity of European deterrence policies first hand. Policies which have fuelled the humanitarian crisis that our teams are responding to today in Europe and beyond," said Jane-Ann Mc Kenna, Director of Médecins Sans Frontières in Ireland.

"The enforcement of migration cooperation deals between the EU and its member states with third countries is resulting in unacceptable humanitarian consequences”.

The EU-Turkey deal

Three months into the EU-Turkey deal, which European governments are claiming as a success, people in need of protection are left counting its true human cost.


"Likewise, the deal does nothing to encourage countries surrounding Syria, already hosting millions of refugees, to open their borders to those in need.

“Europe’s attempt to outsource migration control is having a domino effect, with closed borders stretching all the way back to Syria. People increasingly have nowhere to turn,” said Oberreit.

Will the situation in Azaz where 100,000 people are blocked between closed borders and front lines become the rule, rather than the deadly exception?

The instrumentalization of humanitarian aid

The EU-Turkey deal’s financial package includes one billion euros in humanitarian aid. There are undoubtedly needs in Turkey, a country which currently hosts close to three million Syrian refugees, but this aid has been negotiated as a reward for border control promises, rather than being based solely on needs.

This instrumentalization of humanitarian aid is unacceptable.

“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. It cannot become the norm and must be challenged,” said Oberreit.

“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.”


* UNHCR Mid-Year Trends Report 2015 available online.

MSF has been providing assistance to people crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe since 2002. In the last 18 months alone MSF medics have treated an estimated 200,000 men, women and children in Europe and on the Mediterranean Sea. The organisation is currently caring for refugees and migrants in Greece, Serbia, France, Italy and on the Mediterranean as well as in countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

MSF’s activities are mainly (90%) privately funded. Nevertheless, the organisation is also involved in some financial partnerships for specific programmes with institutional donors. In 2015, funding from EU institutions represented 19 million euros, while funding from member states represented 37 million euros.

MSF also used 6.8 million euros received from the Norwegian Government. In 2016, in addition to ECHO, MSF is involved in partnerships with nine European Member States:  Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

find out more about the european refugee crisis

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