Sunday, November 26, 2006

EU and African Nations Adopt Joint Declaration on African Migration

Funds Cloud Africa Migrant Talks
Gaddafi: Migration ‘inevitable’
EU Back Away from Migration Fund

Ministers from more than 50 countries in Europe and Africa attended a two-day conference in Libya aimed at finding a common stance on both legal and illegal immigration. The delegates sought ways to address issues like the protection of refugees and joint border patrols. The two day meeting is the first of its kind to be held on the issue.

After two days of talks, a joint declaration was adopted aimed at curtailing the flow of illegal migrants to Europe. The ministers have pledged to cooperate to tackle illegal immigration through development and border control.

“Illegal or irregular immigration cannot be addressed solely from a security perspective,” European and African leaders said in the joint statement.

Side-stepped from the declaration were African calls for a special multi-billion dollar fund provided by the EU. African ministers said that such a fund would finance development projects to prevent young Africans seeking a better life in Europe. Libya called on the EU to give Africa $10 billion per year in development projects to prevent people from leaving their countries. Libyan Foreign Minister Abdelrahmane Chalgham said the development money was needed to combat poverty, which was fueling migration, and the problem could not be solved by repressive measures alone.
Morocco proposed a “joint fund with voluntary contributions” to develop projects in African countries, but its Foreign Minister Mohamed Benaissa said European representatives were not keen.

Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, stressed that “the EU’s commitment to African development is total.”

Both Libya and Morocco, main staging posts for migrants leaving Africa, have called on the EU to ensure that tighter border controls are complemented by development projects in African states. Europe has repeatedly asked these two countries to tighten their borders.

This year, Spanish authorities detained 28,000 people in the Canary Islands, while 16,000 were held on the Italian island of Lampedusa.

Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, told African and European government ministers that resisting migration "is like rowing against the stream". Is he right in that cross-border migration is inevitable? Should Europe accept the migration? If not, how should Europe and Africa deal with increasing migration?

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