France, Benelux to propose EU aid for Africa in return for migrant help

2018-09-07 07:38
(iStock)

(iStock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

France and the three Benelux countries on Thursday launched a plan to offer EU funds to African countries in return for help stemming the flow of migrants to Europe.

With the issue of immigration fuelling populist movements across Europe, the EU is under pressure to come up with ways to stop the arrival of illegal migrants, many of whom risk their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean in rickety boats.

French President Emmanuel Macron and the prime ministers of Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands said they had agreed on "concrete" proposals to put forward at a meeting of EU leaders in Salzburg, Austria, later this month.

Dutch PM Mark Rutte said that "agreements like those concluded with Turkey" were needed to build on a hard-fought but vague deal on migration thrashed out at an EU summit in June.

The EU struck a deal with Turkey in 2016 in a effort to stem the flow of migrants, under which Ankara agreed to take back illegal migrants landing on Greek islands in exchange for incentives including financial aid.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

Over the last year the bloc has been stepping up its efforts to support African countries with aid and investment in a bid to reduce the incentives for people to leave their home countries to seek a better life in Europe.

"The European Union must deploy a form of Marshall Plan for Africa, with a concrete operational ambition with African partners", said Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel.

The four leaders also urged more help for European countries of first arrival, Italy and Spain, to deal with the arrivals, but all maintain that these countries must have responsibility for arrivals - a major point of contention with Italy.

The hardline anti-migrant government in Rome has demanded the EU rotate the ports where migrants rescued in the Mediterranean disembark, arguing that Italy was shouldering an unfair burden.

Italy has been turning away ships with migrants rescued at sea in a campaign to force other EU countries to take them, and last month it threatened to block the EU budget over the issue.

Macron said the countries of arrival "have a responsibility and they cannot get rid of it, but there must be financial solidarity".

"We have made progress today and together we will bring concrete solutions to the Salzburg summit," he added.

Read more on:    emmanuel macron  |  belgium  |  france  |  netherlands  |  eu  |  africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.