Five European states and five African countries agreed at a meeting on Monday to work closer together to curtail human trafficking in Europe and at source and to establish legal pathways for migrants to reach Europe, European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said.
Johansson told the press that the meeting was part of the European Commission’s preparation of a new European Union (EU) pact on migration and asylum.
“The crossing from Africa to Europe is dangerous and we need to do something about it, both in countries of origin and in countries where these migrants end up,” she said.
The meeting was attended by the interior ministers of France, Germany, Italy, Malta, and Spain as well as their counterparts from Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.
It was held on the back of a weekend of migrant landings in Lampedusa, an Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea, with the media there reporting the arrival of over 1,000 migrants between Friday and Sunday.
Johansson said the EU was investing a lot of money to help countries of origin better control and protect their borders. She mentioned 342 million euros (388 million U.S. dollars) in Morocco and 155 million in Libya as examples.
“We also support the fight against human traffickers through regional programs aimed at dismantling smuggling networks. We agreed to explore how best to use EU agencies like Frontex and Europol to reach this goal,” she said.
“Europe needs a strong partnership with these countries or origin,” she said. “We need to improve the way we can help these countries manage and fight the root causes of migration. We also need to find legal pathways for these people to come to Europe.”