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EU High Representative Federica Mogherini on Monday pledged together with the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Spain to further support and deepen joint actions and partnerships to meet the challenges of migration and asylum.
"This meeting confirms and reinforces the work that the EU initiated last year and which is now bearing fruit – a joint approach, which is sustainable and respectful of human rights, to an extremely complicated phenomenon," said the High Representative in remarks following the meeting in Paris.
The EU approach combines cracking down on human traffickers and supporting migrants and host communities, with increased long-term support to the economic development of countries of origin.
The EU and its Member States invest EUR 20 billion a year in Africa. "We do not need a new Marshall Plan; we already have a European plan" which is delivering, Mogherini pointed out. "In the coming days, we will also launch a private investment plan which will mobilise up to EUR 44 billion in private funds for economic development in Africa," she added.
To tackle the immediate challenges of unregulated migration flows, the EU works closely with international partners such as the International Organisation for Migration and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to ensure an approach which respects the rights of all migrants and ensures that international conventions are upheld. This implies ensuring asylum-seekers obtain appropriate protection, and that economic migrants are treated with dignity and provided with safe return to their countries of origin.
A fair and effective response "requires sharing of responsibility within the borders of the European Union. It requires a commitment from all Europeans, and above all, a strong partnership with our African friends and international organizations," said Mogherini.
The EU's partnerships with national and local authorities in Africa are also key to cracking down on people-traffickers who exploit the vulnerability of migrants and are responsible for many deaths. The EU's Operation Sophia has saved tens of thousands of migrants at sea and seized hundreds of smuggling boats, but the EU also invests heavily in supporting the security forces of countries of transit such as Mali, Niger and Libya.