EU and African leaders agree on new plan to tackle migration

The African leaders at the summit said fighting poverty must be a central part of any strategy [AFP]

TMP – 11/09/2017

The leaders of four European countries attending a migration summit have said they would accept asylum claims from migrants who apply for protection from safe zones in Niger and Chad.

The meeting, hosted by French president Emanuel Macron, was attended by the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Niger, Chad and Libya. The European leaders also pledged to help Chad and Niger with border controls in order to reduce the flow of migrants from Africa towards the Mediterranean.

In a joint statement, the leaders of the seven countries 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.”

Macron told reporters that he wanted those “who have the right to asylum” to be identified in Niger, Chad and Libya and to get them as quickly as possible to zones identified as fully safe in Niger and Chad, under UNHCR supervision.
“The centres would prevent women and men from taking unwise risks in an extremely dangerous area and then in the Mediterranean,” Macron said.

The leaders signed a plan on the proposal, though there are not many details on how it will work in practice. A joint mission will be sent to Niger and Chad soon they said in a statement after the summit.

The African leaders at the summit said fighting poverty must be a central part of any strategy to tackle irregular migration.
“We are all committed to reducing the damage, the death of Africans in the desert, the death of Africans crossing the Mediterranean,” said Chadian President Idriss Deby.
“The fundamental problem will always remain development. We need resources,” he added.

Interior ministers from Libya, Chad, Niger and Mali, who were meeting with Italy’s interior minister in Rome on Monday, said the Paris summit’s agenda “can constitute the beginning of a new relationship between Europe and Africa”.