Sputnik: Why do EU authorities target aid groups in the first place?
Liz Fekete: I think the reason is because we have what is called a deterrent asylum policy in Europe.
Since the summer of 2015 and intensification of the refugee crisis, particularly in the Mediterranean, […] they have pulled out resources from the search-and-rescue missions in the Mediterranean, which means that the NGOs stepped in to do what our government should be doing, which is saving lives.
[…] If you want the refugee crisis to stop at the gateway of Europe, if you don't want the refugees to come, then you've got to stop the humanitarian workers from actually doing the job of government.
So I think that they want to push a humanitarian effort back so that they continue their deterrent asylum policy.
Sputnik: From the legal point of view, do these measures contradict international law?
Liz Fekete: […]Even just as importantly, it is the violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, it is the violation of everything Europe is meant to stand for.
Europe likes to see itself as a kind of leader in the world – the EU is a place of the enlightenment, the EU is a place where humanitarianism and individual's rights were born, so the point is that here we have a classic example of law and morality colliding.
Sputnik: Do you believe that the situation can contribute to the growth of far-right movements in the region?
Liz Fekete: […] A kind of comments made by [EU] Interior Ministers which are basically accusing the NGOs of [colluding] with traffickers and migrants — all of this is feeding the far-right and amplifying their message.
We have a major contradiction here: the EU funds counter-extremism projects all around Europe, it says it is against extremism and radicalization but actually what it is doing is laying the groundwork for extremism.
We are very worried about that and we hope the European Commission is going to come back to us; we have written to them and we are awaiting their reply.