Friday

22nd Nov 2019

Foreign ministers to back EU migration plan

  • The EU has seen an influx of migrants, with almost 600,000 arriving by sea so far this year (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

EU foreign ministers on Monday (12 October) will back an EU master plan on how best to deal with the influx of asylum seekers and refugees.

Draft conclusions seen by this website include extending the scope of the EU's €1 billion regional trust fund on Syria to the Western Balkans and making readmission agreements key "in all dialogues with countries of origin of irregular migrants".

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It notes "all tools shall be mobilised to increase cooperation on return and readmission".

Monday's draft note says "poverty, violations of human rights and poor socio-economic development" exacerbate forced displacement.

It says "humanitarian aid, development policy and assistance" should be used to help "tackle current challenges".

It means, in part, finding leverage to ensure that countries of origin and transit accept the return of their unwanted nationals from the EU.

It says the European Commission has six months to come up with tailor-made solutions to get countries in Africa and elsewhere to readmit their nationals.

The EU's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini will be in Addis Ababa next week to discuss readmission with the African Union and Ethiopia.

Earlier this month, EU interior ministers made similar declarations at a meeting in Luxembourg. They said more support is needed for Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. All three host the bulk of Syrian refugees.

Some 83 percent of all the people risking their lives to get to the EU come from one of the top ten refugee-producing countries.

Almost 600,000 people arrived in the EU this year by sea. Of those, some 3,000 are either dead or missing.

Most survivors end up trying to find a way into mainland EU through the Western Balkans.

The past few months have seen EU leaders and policy-makers scrambling for a wide solution to the crisis.

But stories of families being separated and children dying in the attempt continue.

The Geneva-based International Organisation for Migration on Sunday launched a twitter campaign to look for Azam Aldaham, a missing five-year old Syrian boy with a broken jaw. He was last seen in Belgrade.

EU states fell short on sharing refugees, say auditors

A two-year scheme to send asylum seekers from Greece and Italy to other EU states fell short of its potential, say EU auditors. Some 35,000 were helped - but auditors say 445,000 in Greece alone could have also potentially benefited.

Erdogan: refugees will enter Europe unless EU does more

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Ankara will "open the doors" for refugees and migrants to enter Europe unless it does more to help. The EU says it won't help Turkey create a so-called "safe zone" in north-east Syria.

Greek migrant hotspot now EU's 'worst rights issue'

The 14,000 migrants trapped on the Greek island of Lesbos has been described as "the single most worrying fundamental rights issue that we are confronting anywhere in the European Union" by the head of the EU's Fundamental Rights Agency.

Hungary faces EU court for starving migrants

The European Commission is one step away from taking Hungary to court if it does not offer a credible explanation for why it denied detained migrants food in its transit zones along the Serbian border.

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