Wednesday, November 11, 2015

EU Offers African Nations $1.8 Billion to Address Migration

A group of more than 60 leaders from Africa and the European Union are meeting Wednesday and Thursday in Malta in an attempt to improve their response to the migration crisis that has sent hundreds of thousands of people fleeing to Europe this year.

The EU says the summit will focus on addressing the reasons why people are leaving their home countries, better organizing legal migration channels, boosting protections for migrants, battling smugglers and improving cooperation with African nations on returning people who do not qualify for asylum.

"Whether it be on visa facilitation, making the most of remittances for development or fighting smugglers together, this summit is about action, concrete and operational action," European Council President Donald Tusk said Tuesday.

As part of the effort, Europe is offering $1.8 billion in new aid to African countries.  But critics are questioning Europe's response, saying the EU is trying to push people back to areas where there are serious questions about human rights and a lack of economic opportunities.

Tusk said that Europe needs to respect African sovereignty and have "great empathy" for its concerns.

About 800,000 people have crossed to Europe by sea this year, nearly four times the number who made the journey in 2014, according to the International Organization for Migration.  Italy and Greece are the most popular landing points.  More people have landed in Italy from Eritrea, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan than anywhere else, making up half of the 140,000 migrants who have arrived there this year...

 voanews.com
11/11/15
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