EU accepts 1.8 bn euro refugee trust fund for Africa

EU leaders gather with African counterparts in Malta on last day of refugee summit, accepts 1.8 bn-euro trust fund for Africa aimed at tackling root causes of mass migration to Europe

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

EU and African leaders take part in group photo during the Valletta Summit on Migration in Valletta

Updated Nov 13, 2015

European Union (EU) leaders met with African leaders on Thursday to agree on an Aid-for cooperation deal being prepared in the case of unpredictable waves of migration and to repel the idea that the European ‘’fortress’’ is being built.

The European Commission accepted to give €1.8B ($1.93B) to Africa and call on EU countries to pledge more.

A Trust Fund will be established, in which EU states will use to finance African states in compensation for their cooperation in returning refugees back. Most of EU member countries are expected to contribute to the fund, for instance Malta will contribute €250,000.

The agreement was signed at 0900 GMT and will be followed by another working session and a press conference. Eventually there will be an informal summit.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said "For the Africa Trust Fund and our response to be credible, I want to see more member states contributing and matching the 1.8 billion euros ($1.9 billion) the EU has put forward."

The commission said as much as 25 of the 28 EU part states and two non-EU givers Norway and Switzerland had promised a sum of around 78.2 million euros in coordinating assets, far shy of the 1.8 billion euros Juncker has called for.

The Maltese PM Joeph Muscat was asked on the late reaction of the EU to the refugee crisis which is mainly on the Balkans rather than the Mediterranean Sea.

"Malta has consistently called for a common EU approach on migration. If we get it right with Africa, it can play well with other partners worldwide. We must elevate the discussion to a global level," said Muscat.

Routes of refugee flows have changed in previous years, first it was from Senegal to Spain, then via central Mediterranean and currently the Balkans over Turkey.

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara said "the current situation is a reminder to our European partners of the urgency of promoting legal migration and mobility between our two continents."

African Union chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said: "The problem we are facing today is in part because some countries in Europe have taken a fortress approach."

The aim of the aid was to resolve the economic and security issues that caused people to flee from the country and to persuade African countries to take back refugees who failed to find asylum.

The summit was planned six months ago after a refugee boat sunk off Libya's coast in April which killed over 800 people. It forced embarrassed EU governments to abandon hope that the sea would be their moat against human desperation and to step up naval rescue missions.

TRTWorld and agencies