EU to offer Africa aid at Malta summit to stall migration

European Union leaders offer Africa aid at Malta summit in effort to slow movement of refugees across Mediterranean

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat (L) welcomes European Council President Donald Tusk outside his office before the 2015 Valletta Summit on migration in Valletta, Malta on November 10, 2015

Leaders of the European Union met with their African counterparts in the EU-Africa high-level summit in Malta on Wednesday, hoping pledges of cash and other aid can stall the migration flow from the world’s poorest continent to wealthy Europe, crossing the Mediterranean.

The European Commission said it would give €1.8B (£1.3B) to Africa and call on EU countries to pledge more.

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

The summit will take place in Valletta on Nov. 11and 12 at the Mediterranean Conference Center.

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.

A refugee boat that sank off Libya in April (Reuters)

Over the last few months, the EU has encountered an unpredictable number of refugees arriving in Europe, fleeing war, conflict and poverty in their home countries.

About 150,000 people have arrived, mostly in Italy and Malta so far this year, taking a dangerous journey across the Mediterranean from Africa.

The Valetta meeting will focus on long terms problems, including helping Africa create jobs and face global warming - which is endangering its deserts - and agreements to send back hundreds of thousands of Africans refugees already in Europe.

Thursday’s meeting will focus on negotiations with Turkey -temporarily home to over 2 million Syrians- on slowing departures to Greece

The leaders will also discuss whether the measures they have agreed on, since April will have an effect on the influx of refugees through the Balkans, straining the system of open borders among European states, close to the breaking point.

European Council President Donald Tusk, the summit chair, on Tuesday told the Maltese parliament that the strain of refugees escaping from war and conflict in the Middle East were placing on Europeans adding that they are threatening the EU, especially on keeping their borders open to neighbouring countries. Tusk also added that Africa’s population is expected to double by 2050, taking action essential.

TRTWorld and agencies