EU, African leaders meet in Paris to discuss migrant crisis

NNA – Leaders from seven African and European countries meet in Paris on Monday for a mini-summit to discuss how to ease the EU’s migrant crisis.

French President Emmanuel Macron has invited his counterparts from Niger and Chad as well as the head of the Libyan unity government Fayez al-Sarraj, whose countries lie on the main transit route for migrants heading to Europe.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Spanish and Italian prime ministers Mariano Rajoy and Paulo Gentiloni, and Europe’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, will join the talks.

European nations are keen to offer development aid and funding to their African partners in return for help in stemming the flow of economic migrants and asylum seekers.

A total of 125,000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean by boat this year, according to UN figures, with the vast majority arriving in Italy before travelling on to other EU members. An estimated 2,400 have died en route.

France is seeking improved border controls and patrolling of the waters around Libya complicated by the country’s competing governments and state of lawlessness as well as development aid to create jobs in Africa.

“The fight against illegal migration is being led on two fronts: development and security,” said a source in the French presidency, asking not to be named.

In July, Macron also proposed without consulting his allies the creation of so-called “hotspots” in Africa where asylum seekers fleeing persecution or war could lodge a request to travel to the EU.

would mean they would not need to make the perilous trip across the Mediterranean with the help of people traffickers, who frequently pack too many people onto flimsy boats and often mistreat the migrants.–FRANCE24

===============R.H.

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