EU-Africa Summit in Malta
Ushering in a new phase of cooperation
In Valletta, EU and African leaders have adopted an action plan to address illegal migration and tackle the root causes of the problem. Young people in Africa are to be offered better prospects. Chancellor Angela Merkel believes that a longer-term process will be needed to realise the plan.
The action plan also aims to make it easier to enter the EU legally to work or study. The European Union is to set up a dedicated fund for migration projects. The European Commission will earmark 1.8 billion euros for this.
Following the EU-Africa Summit, Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke of "the start of a new phase in cooperation". The aim is to fight illegal migration. "This is something that can take place within the African states – through better governance, greater involvement of civil society, economic growth and ensuring that the young people of the continent have genuine prospects of a better future."
EU Trust Fund worth 1.8 billion euros to be established
To this end the EU is to establish a Trust Fund. Germany will provide bilateral assistance, said Angela Merkel. "For instance, we will initiate additional programmes attached to the African Union that will focus on training young people. The more effectively illegal migration can be tackled, the more we will, of course, do to promote legal exchange in the form of internships, places at universities and colleges, and legal migration for individuals wishing to work in Europe. We, on the European side, have made it very clear that our future is to assure a framework for legal exchange rather than financing smugglers and human traffickers," continued the Chancellor.
Building "friendly and respectful relations"
Before the meeting she had stressed, "I believe this exchange is especially important when it comes to gradually cracking down on smugglers and human traffickers." The meeting is important, in order to build "friendly and respectful relations with Africa," she said, but this must also be a relationship within which "clear expectations and demands can be voiced as well as extending assistance".
Action plan adopted
In the morning the summit participants agreed on an action plan, which covers the following:
- Addressing root causes of irregular migration through increased efforts to achieve peace, stability and economic development
- Promoting and organising legal migration channels
- Protecting migrants and asylum-seekers, in particular the most vulnerable groups
- Fighting migrant smuggling and human trafficking
- Improving cooperation on return and readmission.
Stepping up cooperation with countries of origin and transit states
The EU-Africa Summit in Valletta was organised in response to an initiative of the Chancellor at the special meeting of the European Council on 23 April. Over the last few months she has vigorously advocated stepping up cooperation between the EU and the countries of origin of migrants and the transit states.
For Angela Merkel it is quite clear that, "This was the starting point of a longer process. Obviously many people are asking whether this summit has solved the problem. The answer is no, but we have made a start to achieving a systematic solution. That is why I believe this summit was important, and absolutely essential. But a lot of work still lies ahead of us."