European External Migration Funds and Public Procurement Law

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Table of Contents: I. Introduction. – II. European Union public procurement law. – III. The three funds. – III.1. Trust Funds. – III.2. The Trust Funds for Syria and Africa. – III.3. The crisis exception in the Trust Fund for Africa. – III.4. Facility for Refugees in Turkey. – IV. Five projects. – IV.1. Civil registries in Mali. – IV.2. Cashews in Mali. – IV.3. Libya. – IV.4. Turkish Coast Guard boats. – IV.5. Syrian refugees. – V. Conclusion.

Abstract: Since 2014, the European Union has established three funds (for Africa, Syria, and refugees in Turkey) to implement its external migration policy. In this Article, we analyse whether these funds and their implementation are compatible with EU public procurement law. This leads to a mixed picture. The wholesale exemption of expenditure under the EU Trust Fund for Africa from public procurement is incompatible with EU law; the exemption is not motivated, and it is implausible that there is a crisis in all 26 African countries where the Trust Fund operates thorough the duration of the Trust Fund. However, some more limited exceptions may apply, allowing for exempting particular projects from public procurement. Whether or not public procurement has taken place is often not transparent. It is remarkable that the notion of emergency is used in a cursory manner. It is equally remarkable that European public procurement law is not well integrated in external migration policy.

Keywords: public procurement law – migration law – EU Trust Fund for Africa – facility for refugees in Turkey – Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis – external migration policy.

European Papers, Vol. 4, 2019, No 2, pp. 493-521
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/320

* Professor of Migration Law, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam,; Raoul Wallenberg Visiting Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Lund University; his research for this Article was funded by the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation.

** Professor of European Administrative Law, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam,


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