EU, African leaders discuss migrant crisis in Paris

 29 Aug 2017 - 9:17

EU, African leaders discuss migrant crisis in Paris
Leaders at the Paris summit will focus on the central Mediterranean route [Thibault Camus/Reuters].


PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday hosted an international summit aimed at cracking down on illegal migration from Africa to Europe.
Leaders from France, Germany, Italy and Spain met counterparts from Libya, Niger and Chad to discuss ways to curb illegal migration across the Mediterranean Sea.
Senior EU figures also attended.
In a joint statement they said they had "agreed to work together to try to strengthen cooperation with countries of origin in order to address root causes, prevent departures and improve the ability to return illegal migrants to their countries of origin, as well as to allow better implementation of the existing migration agreements".
A working plan includes beefing up border surveillance and security along migrant routes, schemes to create jobs as alternatives for those involved in people smuggling. It also involves improving stability in Libya and increasing aid to transit countries.
Macron told a joint news conference he wanted asylum requests handled in Libya, Chad and Niger to identify those "who have the right to asylum" to "put them in security as quickly as zones identified fully safe in Niger and Chad, under UNHCR supervision". 

- ‘The problem is poverty’
More than 2,400 people have died trying to make it to Europe through the Mediterranean so far this year, according to the International Organization for Migration..
Both Chadian and Nigerian presidents insisted that in order to address the "illegal migration" issue, more funding from their European partners was needed. 
"The fundamental problem will always remain development ... it needs resources," president of Chad, Idriss Deby said, stressing the need for long-term solutions.
Both leaders highlighted that "the problem is poverty," a conclusion supported by EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini.
However, she dismissed any need for "a new Marshall Plan," recalling that EU member countries already invested €20 billion ($2.4 billion) annually in Africa.