EU and African leaders have signed an agreement for the creation of an Emergency Trust Fund, initially of €1.8 billion, to assist African countries in their development and encourage them to take back nationals who migrated to Europe. Malta had pledged €250,000 to the fund.
The signing was the highlight of the Valletta Summit on Migration, which ends later today with a final declaration and action plan.
EU leaders will then hold an informal summit where they will discuss a range of EU issues.
What is the Trust Fund? See fact sheet on pdf below
WE WANT TO SMASH PEOPLE TRAFFICKERS - UK HOME SECRETARY
British Home Secretary Theresa May said Britain wanted to see a partnership with African countries that would see those countries develop, removing the need for their people to migrate.
Her country also wanted to ‘smash the link’ between migrants and the people-smugglers who were making money out of human misery.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron attended the first session of the summit yesterday but returned home this morning because of a visit by the Indian Prime Minister.
The President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, described the Trust Fund for Africa as ‘a tool’ for the better management of migration flows and said his country was planning several development projects from those funds.
The Liberian Foreign Minister said the final declaration was broad-based, going into the root causes of migration and who were the real migrants, those escaping war and the economic migrants. This, he said, was part of a process.
Swedish Prime Minister Kjell Stefan Löfvén said Sweden received more refugees than other countries per capita and it wanted to ensure that there was control over national borders. Speaking in the context of the Swedish decision to suspend Schengen and reintroduce border controls temporarily, the minister said the authorities needed to ensure that those who entered Sweden identified themselves.
“We cannot just let everybody in,” the minister said. Asked whether that meant that Schengen was unsustainable, the minister said it would survive if all countries worked together.
“We need to cooperate and work together in a way that African countries develop and young people see a future for themselves and stay at home.”
The Irish Foreign Minister said there were challenges both for countries of origin and countries of destination and the discussion was very broad-based, including climate change, energy policies and how Europe could aid African development.
“No one wants to see people dying in the Mediterranean.”
African leaders said that the migration problem could not be solved overnight but cooperation between Europe and Africa was of utmost importance.