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13 April 2022

Hello, and welcome to the news and tools delivery from EDJNet.

Today we present the new investigation led by Deutsche Welle which looked into the EU Trust Fund for Africa, established in 2015 to finance projects that would "address the root causes of migration". As you'll read, the tool was used more to control migration than to promote freedom of movement or to combat the factors that cause displacement.

Earlier this week we also published a work on how phone companies use our personal data. The analysis was run by OBC Transeuropa, El Confidencial and Voxeurop within the context of the PANELFIT project.

Let's dig in.

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How the EU spent billions to halt migration from Africa

The European Union has set high goals with its Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, such as fighting irregular migration, returning and reintegrating migrants, and creating more legal pathways to the EU. Deutsche Welle – with the collaboration of Voxeurop, Openpolis and OBC Transeuropa – examined whether the EUTF achieved them. They found out that:

  • Despite the EUTF's bulk of resources was supposed to be dedicated to jobs creation and economic development, only 10% of the funds were allocated to this goal.
  • Almost a quarter of the funds – the largest share — went into migration management.
  • Even so, the observed decrease in crossings and applications by citizens of EUTF recipient countries tracked with similar drops in numbers for citizens of all African countries, implying that, overall, the EUTF did not have a measurable impact on migratory movements toward the European Union on this scale. 
Read the article >

Related stories


EU uses development aid to strongarm Africa on migration

Kira Schacht | Deutsche Welle

EU development programs such as the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa prioritize curbing migration over fostering development, critics say. How does the EUTF square with the stated aims of the European Union's aid policies?

How phone companies use our personal data

In the past, some telephone companies have become known for their unscrupulous use of customers’ personal data. While things have improved in Europe, it is important to know what we are agreeing to when we sign a new contract. OBC Transeuropa, El Confidencial, and Voxeurop analysed the privacy policies of Italian, Spanish, German, and French phone companies; their work produced this chart:

Read the article – in the Italian and Spanish versions you can find a country-specific analysis with in-depth charts >

Related stories


Mobile operators and personal data in Europe

Federico Caruso, Gianluca De Feo | OBC Transeuropa

An article that explores in more detail the research into how phone companies use customers’ personal data, with notes on the legal issues relating to European law.

All our articles can be freely republished or reused. Some are available in Croatian, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, and Romanian. Interested? Write to us!

Our pick


From our partners at the European Data News Hub


From Denmark to Portugal, Europe ups effort to quit Russian gas

In Denmark, large black pipes are about to be buried in a muddy trench, as construction of a gas pipeline from Norway to Poland resumes following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Tools and Tips

Data repository: Taking stock of the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa

Deutsche Welle has created a GitHub page that collects all the material they used to publish their investigation on the EUTF, which we presented to you above. It includes:

  • The full dataset compiled for the analysis;
  • The script they used to collect the data from the European Commission's AVKO database that is used to document results from the EUTF projects;
  • Data for detected irregular border crossings from the Frontex Website, data for first-time asylum-applications from the Eurostat database, data for displaced people from UNHCR;
  • Information on the interviews conducted;
  • Other links to sources, a spreadsheet that document the data analysis, and a collection of references.
You can access the GitHub page here > 

From the European data journalism community

 Training  Youth4Regions
The European Commission opened the application period for the 6th edition of the Youth4Regions programme for journalism students and young journalists. Applications are accepted from EU Member States, neighbouring and accession countries.
👉 The deadline for applications is 11 July. More information here.

 Conference  Video Resources for Data Investigations
GIJN’s first fully online conference featured a full track of data workshops and panels, ranging from analysis with spreadsheets and SQL to programming with R and Python, from tips on scraping and cleaning to data visualization and social network mapping.
👉 You can watch the videos from the conference here.

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