European development aid funds are used to close European borders, reduce migration and to strive for migrants' return to Africa. That is the conclusion of aid organization Oxfam Novib in a report that was published on Thursday.

More than a quarter of the European Union's development budget is used to send back migrants and keep them out, the report says. According to Oxfam, it affects the EU's reputation in Africa and distracts from the goal of helping people in need.

According to Oxfam, the European development aid funds are linked to domestic and short-term policy priorities of the European member states.

"European governments, including the Dutch ones, seem determined to fight migration with money intended to fight poverty and combat inequality in Africa in particular," says Evelien van Roemburg, Campaign Manager Migration at Oxfam Novib.

According to the aid organization, Dutch efforts in Mali to control the flow of migration would have resulted in the population losing confidence in their leaders.

In 2016, then Foreign Minister Bert Koenders signed an agreement with Mali on behalf of the European Union to promote the return of Malian migrants from Europe.