EU ministers discuss ways to decrease migrant flows

TMP – 21/07/2017

EU interior ministers recently met in Estonia to discuss ways to decrease the flow of migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa who pass through Libya in their attempt to reach Europe.

The ministers discussed how to strengthen Libya’s coastal security and rescue capabilities and how to better secure Libya’s southern borders.

An earlier announcement by the interior ministers that they might sanction migrants’ home countries with visa restrictions if they refuse to take back citizens whose asylum applications has been rejected.

Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti said that NGO rescue operations needed to work closely with the Libyan coastal authorities in Libya’s territorial waters.

“These are civil operations and need to be coordinated just as much as they need to liaise with judicial authorities and police regarding actions and investigations against people smugglers,” he said.

Estonian interior minister Andrea Anvelt stressed the importance of ensuring that migrants who do not have the right to international protection can be quickly and efficiently sent back to their home countries. “Legal migration is a possibility but illegal migration and also economic migration have to be stopped,” Anvelt said.

The ministers agreed to strengthen the Libyan coast guard, step up deportations of failed asylum seekers and fund development efforts in African countries to alleviate poverty which is sending people to Europe in search of jobs.

At a separate conference in Rome, Italy’s Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano announced 10 million Euros to help Niger, Chad and Sudan better control their borders to keep migrants from reaching Libya and another 18 million Euros for the voluntary return of migrants in Libya who want to go back to their home countries.

“We have to stop migrants getting to Libya and to do that we have to help countries further south,” Alfano said.