Eritreans in exile have launched legal proceedings against the EU, accusing it of financing a scheme in Eritrea that uses “forced labour”. The Netherlands-based Foundation Human Rights for Eritreans (FHRE) has called on the EU to immediately stop a €20m (£17m) road construction project, which it says violates human rights law as well as the EU’s own charter, since it uses national service recruits. Eritrea’s system of compulsory national service can last for 20 years or more, and has been likened by both the UN and the European Parliament to mass enslavement. Conscripts often work 72-hour weeks in extremely harsh conditions with inadequate food and low pay. It is the major cause of mass migration from Eritrea, which has been called the world’s “fastest emptying country”. The road rehabilitation scheme, which launched in February and will help connect Eritrea’s ports to the border with neighbouring Ethiopia, is financed by the EU’s new Emergency Trust Fund for Africa and was described by an EU spokesman as indicative of “a new approach to engaging with Eritrea, which has the improvement of the lives and rights of Eritreans at its core”. Europe accused of financing Eritrean project based on 'forced labour' This is one of the reasons the EU is crap.