African and European countries meet to discuss migration

Riadh Dridi AP Photo

TMP – 04/08/2017
Interior ministers from 14 African and European countries met with the European Union  on 24 July in the Tunisian capital Tunis to discuss ways to control the flow of migrants from Africa to Europe through Libya.
The interior ministers of Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Niger, Mali, Chad, Italy, Germany, Malta, France, Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia and Estonia participated in the meeting.

According to a statement from the meeting, the ministers agreed that their countries should try to address the root causes of irregular migration and “strengthen the exchange of strategic and operational information on criminal networks for trafficking in human beings.”

The statement said efforts must be made to facilitate inclusive development in the countries of origin and transit, in particular in regions with strong migratory potential, to help fight the root causes of migration.

To help combat human trafficking the EU agreed to support border authorities in countries of origin and transit and help to strengthen border surveillance and security by providing training, equipment and infrastructure support.
EU countries will also support programmes of voluntary repatriation to encourage migrants to return to their home countries.

“There is no magic solution. No nation can alone deal with the migratory flux and no nation is sheltered from it,” Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti said after the meeting.

EU Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “Our goal is to take a step forward in our cooperation, in order to save human lives at sea and in the desert, reduce irregular migration, fight traffickers and protect the rights of migrants and refugees.”

This month the EU also approved new rules for rescue ships operating in the Mediterranean, forbidding them to coordinate their movements, either by phone or signal lights, so as not to encourage people smugglers to send migrants across the Mediterranean from Libya. Rescue ships are also required to stay out of Libyan territorial waters or risk being banned from Italian ports.