President Klaus Iohannis has underscored in Malta the need for a strong EU-Africa partnership, under which the European Union member states and the African countries should act together to identify joint solutions for combating illegal migration, the Presidential Administration informs.
In a press statement to AGERPRES on Friday, the Presidential Administration says the head of state participated on Wednesday and Thursday in the EU-Africa Summit as well as in an informal migration summit meeting of the European Council, both events having taken place in Valletta (Malta).
At the EU-Africa Summit, two framework documents were adopted – a Political Declaration and an Action Plan – “meant to generate a real partnership for solving the root causes of migration.”
The constitution of a European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa was also signed to help fight against migration from Africa. The amount of 1.8 billion euro will be allotted under this fund, from the EU budget and European Development Fund, combined with contributions from EU member states and other donors. Romania will have a supplementary contribution worth 100,000 euro, reads the statement.
“During the debates, Romania’s President underscored the need for a strong partnership between the EU and Africa, in which the Union’s member states and the African countries should act together to identify joint solutions to combat against illegal migration. President Klaus Iohannis showed that a reform of assistance for development is also necessary,” the Presidential Administration points out.
According to the release, the informal meeting of the European Council was devoted to the assessment of the latest developments in the implementation of measures already decided on a European level in the migration area, with a reference to the consolidation of cooperation with third countries, mainly with Turkey, and strengthening the checks at the EU’s external borders.
Referring to cooperation with Turkey, there was reiterated the fact that implementing the EU-Turkey Action Plan in the migration area is a priority for ensuring the control of migration flows and for reducing pressure on the states on the Western Balkan region migration route.
“As far as the European Union’s external borders security is concerned, Romania’s President underscored the need for some additional measures and a better cooperation among the member states in the direction of a much more efficient control at the Union’s external borders,” the statement says.
Tusk: “We are in a race against time to save Schengen”
The Valletta Summit on Migration ended Thursday afternoon with a Final Declaration and Action Plan which the Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat described as “an important first step for a two-way relationship” between Europe and Africa.
“The action plan shows maybe for the first time, the commitment by Europe to see the relationship flourish,” the Maltese prime minister said, as quoted by timesofmalta.com.
European Council President Donald Tusk said this had been a frank and productive discussion.
“What we have agreed is a crucial step in reinforcing our cooperation, we now need to get moving on implementing the action plan in partnership and solidarity.”
He explained how the action plan is aimed to address the causes of migration, enhance cooperation on legal migration, reinforce protection of displaced persons, fight migrant smuggling, and make progress on readmission of persons not entitled to stay in Europe.
What was even more important, he said, was the long list of actions to be implemented by the end of next year.
Among them were projects to create jobs in countries of origin and transit, the doubling of the number of students in Erasmus Plus programmes, the establishment of regional development programmes in central and north Africa, the setting up of a joint investigation team in Niger to fight migrant trafficking and then develop it in other countries, and the facilitation of migrant returns by a number of steps such as African officials coming to Europe to identify irregular migrants.
To help implement the commitment, the EU has formally set up a trust fund of €1.8 billion on top of other development assistance of €20 billion every year.
“We cannot improve the situation overnight but we are committed to giving people alternatives to risking their lives,” Mr Tusk said.