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Migration control must be at heart of next EU-Africa pact, says EU

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Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Migration control must be at heart of next EU-Africa pact, says EU

The EU will put migration and security at the heart of its agenda in talks on a successor to the Cotonou Agreement with African, Caribbean and Pacific nations (ACP), a leading EU official said on Monday (26 March). “The EU’s new partnership with Africa must do more with migration [policy]. We must partner with Africa to fight trafficking and migrant smuggling,” said Koen Vervaeke, managing director for Africa at the European External Action Service (EEAS) at the Chatham House think-tank in London. “However, we also want to improve mechanisms for the legal migration of Africans to come to Europe.” Talks between the EU and ACP community will begin later this year on a successor to the Cotonou agreement, the EU’s 20-year Partnership Agreement with the 78 nations, which was signed in Cotonou, Benin, in 2000. The new agreement will also address growing inward migration to African countries. Vervaeke said that the “EU recognises the burden of the refugee population in African countries. Over €3 billion to date has been invested by the EU in economic and security opportunities in Africa.” The current agreement includes provisions requiring African countries to take back illegal migrants. However, the only functioning migrant return agreement that the EU has is with Cape Verde. The EU’s preoccupation with migration is a source of concern to many civil society groups. “Development was originally the main pillar in Cotonou. Now it is just one of the pillars,” one civil society leader told EURACTIV. “To the EU the main priority is migration, security, followed by economic growth, and then development.” The Commission also signaled its intent to increase levels of conditionality and sanctions. No funds would be allocated to states violating human rights, with the repayment of funds to be demanded if severe violations of human rights are established. “Enforcement [of Cotonou] has always been weak. The EU will want it to be much tighter,” an EU official told EURACTIV. EU governments will agree on their final mandate for Cotonou 2.0 in May. The ACP are expected to finalise theirs in the summer, weeks before negotiations are due to start in August.

Source: euractiv