Africa

Europe and Africa agree to migration plan

Officials from nearly 60 European and African countries have agreed to find ways to curb the migration of thousands of people from Africa into Europe.

Officials from nearly 60 European and African countries have agreed to find ways to curb the migration of thousands of people from Africa into Europe.
 
It's been prompted by the large number of people who have drowned this year making the perilous journey by boat.
 
According to the International Ogranisation of Migration, almost 3000 asylum seekers are known to have drowned trying to make the crossing to Europe via the Mediterranean this year.
 
The United Nations refugee agency said many cross from west Africa by boat to the Spanish Canary Islands, from Morocco to southern Spain, from Libya to Malta and the Italian islands of Sicily and Lampedusa.
 
The UNHCR said many more enter the European Union by land, via Turkey and the Balkans or from Ukraine and Belarus.
 
It said many of the people making the journey to Europe do it for various reasons, including fleeing poverty, war and persecution.
 
Ministers from more than 50 European and African nations have met in the Italian capital Rome, to discuss how to better manage the issue.
 
The so-called Rabat process resulted in countries pledging to greater cooperation on immigration policies.
 
"Our Rome declaration identifies two priorities areas. First, strengthening the link between migration and development. And second, prevention of, and fighting against, irregular immigration. The Rome declaration has also add a new pillar for cooperation, international protection," said Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European commissioner for migration.
 
Italy has been particularly affected by a surge in the numbers of asylum seekers trying to enter Europe by sea from Africa with more than 150,000 having been rescued from boats already this year.
 
Social tensions over the issue spilled over to street violence in Rome recently, where residents of a poor neighbourhood spent three nights attacking a refugee centre.
 
Italy has long insisted that Europe do more to shoulder the burden of rescuing asylum seekers.
 
European Union foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini said the issue went beyond just the policing of borders.
 
He said if not dealt with, it could turn into a humanitarian crisis.
 
" We will produce a coordinated work on immigration policy, because we know well that there is not just interior policy or just foreign policy," he said.

"It would be very superficial to think of working on policies on immigration just from the point of view of the security of our borders or just from the point of view of cooperation with the countries of origin (of migrants) and of transit.

"We need to integrate policies, visions, information and actions. And this must happen at a state level, that's why this is a ministerial meeting, but also at a European level."
 
Senegal's Interior Minister, Abdoulaye Daouda Diallo agreed.
 
"I think that in this situation, it is better to concentrate less on border control, and more on the main issue: the cooperation between countries of origin (of migrants) and countries which are the final destination of migrants and on their reception policies," he said.

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