Friday

18th Jan 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.

Eight EU states take migrants stranded on NGO boats

France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Romania have agreed to relocate the 49 migrants stuck on two NGO boats moored, for almost three weeks, off Malta's coast.

NGO Mediterranean rescue standoff exposes EU rift

Conditions on the Dutch flagged Sea-Watch 3, an NGO boat with 32 rescued migrants onboard, continue to deteriorate - as EU states refuse to take them in. The youngest on board is a one-year old infant.

Analysis

Goodnight, Vienna! Mixed bag from Austrian presidency

When Austria took over the EU presidency, chancellor Sebastian Kurz declared that his government - in a coalition with the far-right FPO - would use its six-months tenure to promote what he called "a Europe that protects".

EU leaders stuck on asylum reform

Migration was overshadowed by Brexit at the EU summit, with leaders stuck on key legislation. Some warned that free movement could be at risk.

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