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Bamako, 15 April 2016
1. Mali and the European Union today held the first High-Level Dialogue on Migration. H.E. Mr Modibo Keita, Prime Minister, Head of Government of the Republic of Mali, Dr Abderrahmane Sylla, Minister for Malians Abroad and Colonel Major Salif Traoré, Minister for Security and Civil Protection, met with Mr Bert Koenders, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, who was visiting Mali on behalf of Ms Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission.
2. Mali and the European Union enjoy close and excellent relations covering a range of areas. The EU and its Member States are Mali's biggest donor, the EUCAP Sahel Mali and EUTM Mali missions train and advise the Malian security forces and the EU is a co-signatory of the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation resulting from the Algiers process.
3. Guided by the principles of solidarity, partnership, shared responsibility and determination to tackle the problems of irregular migration, the Valletta Summit on Migration on 11 and 12 November brought together European and African leaders.
They undertook to jointly manage all aspects of migration flows.
4. Both sides underlined the convergence between the Valletta Action Plan and Mali's national migration policy (PONAM), and agreed that they constitute a sound basis for identifying practical cooperation measures in this field. This migration policy demonstrates a strong commitment to managing the control of migration flows. The two sides discussed the implementation of the five priorities under the Valletta Action Plan:
1. Addressing the root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons: In a spirit of partnership, the Government of Mali and the EU undertake to promote inclusive economic growth by offering investment prospects and creating decent jobs, in particular for young people. The substantial cooperation programmes of the EU and its Member States in Mali demonstrate their commitment to this. The Emergency Trust Fund set up at the Valletta Summit has also adopted a measure to create new economic opportunities and promote returns to Kayes, the main region of origin.
2. Stepping up cooperation on legal mobility: The two sides consider that further efforts must be made to strengthen opportunities for legal mobility, in particular to promote the mobility of Malian students and researchers through the Erasmus annual calls and actions under the ‘Marie Sklodowska-Curie’ programme.
3. Protection: The Government of Mali and the European Union emphasise that efforts to protect refugees and other displaced persons and defend the human rights of all migrants is a shared responsibility. In this context, the EU undertakes to use the Trust Fund to improve the resilience, security and autonomy of Malian refugees living in camps or host communities in neighbouring countries.
4. Prevention of and fight against irregular migration, migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings: Both sides share the view that there is an increased need to raise public awareness of the risks of irregular migration. Border control, the fight against trafficking in human beings and smuggling of migrants are considered priority areas of cooperation between the two sides. In this connection, the work of the EUCAP Sahel Mali mission was commended. Noting that border management is a priority for the Malian Government in the management of migration flows and the fight against terrorism, the EU undertakes to use the Trust Fund to support the Malian authorities.
5. Return, readmission and reintegration: Both parties agree that the implementation of an effective policy for the return of irregular migrants is a key aspect of managing migration and a way of discouraging people from embarking on a highly perilous journey. In line with the Valletta Action Plan, Article 13 of the Cotonou Agreement and other international conventions, the two parties agreed on the need to enhance their cooperation in this field, such as the identification of irregular migrants (including organising an identification mission in the first half of 2016 and the timely issuing of the travel documents required for return). The European Union recalled the importance of this mutual commitment agreed at Valletta and reiterated its readiness to further strengthen the operational capacity of the relevant authorities, including for the sustainable reintegration of migrants, with due respect for their dignity.
5. Both sides welcomed the fact that an EU Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration in Africa of EUR 1.8 billion (CFAF 1 180 billion) had been set up at the Valletta Summit. Three projects for Mali have already been approved for EUR 43.5 million (some CFAF 28.5 billion) and others will be proposed for adoption on 18 April. The projects adopted and in the pipeline contribute to the implementation of the peace agreement and PONAM. A project will be proposed on 18 April to back up this policy and support job-creation initiatives and investments by the Malian diaspora. It was agreed that both sides will continue to work together to on this, with a view to submitting the relevant project documentation to the Trust Fund.
6. Mr Koenders visited the headquarters of the Air and Border Police where Malian biometric passports, which were introduced on 4 April, are issued. Mr Traoré and Mr Koenders welcomed this important step in ensuring the security of Malian travel documents. In this connection, the EU plans to continue its support for modernisation of civil registration in Mali.
7. Both sides agreed that the dialogue initiated in Valletta and continued here will carry on at technical level. The plan is to hold the next High-Level Dialogue before the end of 2016 to take stock of progress.