March 19, 2018

African countries and EU agreed measures against migrant smuggling

The range of African countries and the EU agreed to take measures aimed against migrant smuggling as the result of the conference, which took place in Niger’s capital city Niamey on March 16, UNN informs with reference to AFP. 

The event devoted to the issues of coordination aimed against migrant smugglers was attended by the official representatives from Burkina Faso, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Libya, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Chad, Germany, Spain, Italy, France, and the UN. 

In the final statement, the state members agreed to strengthen national legislation frameworks to struggle against migrant smuggling channels, to ramp up the use of technical means, and to improve the coordination of actions at the regional level. Moreover, the African and EU states undertook to improve the cooperation in legal field and to intensify border control. 

Niger’s Minister of State for the Interior, Public Security, Decentralization, and Customary and Religious Affairs Mohamed Bazoum noted that they agreed to “attack underlying causes of irregular migration.” Moreover, he added that “the economic problem... is also the basis for the migration phenomenon.” The EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos in turn emphasized the necessity to destroy the migrant smuggling networks, which produce security problems and accumulate huge illegal incomes. He added that the priority is to return stability to the region. 

It should be reminded that after the Balkan route was shut in 2016, the way from Libya across the Mediterranean Sea became the main route for migrants and refugees trying to reach European coasts. According to the International Organization for Migration, in 2017, more than 3,000 persons died or went missing in the attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea moving mainly from Libya towards Italy. Within the framework of the European operation “Sofia” aimed at prevention of crossing the Mediterranean Sea by illegal migrants, more than 42,000 persons were rescued since 2015.