The need to respond quickly and effectively to the so-called ‘refugee crisis’ has led in the last few years to the establishment of a set of “hybrid” financial instruments that combines EU and member states’ contributions. Since 2014, four EU Trust Funds for external action (EUTFs) have been established. Specifically, the Madad Fund in response to the Syrian crisis (established in 2014) and the EUTF for Africa (established in 2015) were presented by EU institutions as key instruments to address the perceived “refugee crisis’. In addition, the Facility for Refugee in Turkey (FRT) has been established in 2015 to provide financial assistance to the Turkish government in dealing with the high number of the Syrian refugee residing in the country.
The establishment of the above-mentioned financial instruments has been accompanied by the launch of new platforms of cooperation with relevant partner countries, such as the EU-Turkey statement concluded in March 2016 and the new “partnership framework” with targeted countries in Africa and the Middle East. This set of initiatives launched by the EU and the Member States to enhance cooperation on migration issues with third countries has given new impetus to the debate on the use of migration-related conditionality in EU external funding. The conditionality approach implies that partnerships and transfers of EU development funds to third countries will be linked to cooperation on migration matters between partner countries and the EU.