Migration: the EU's partnership approach continues to deliver
16/05/2018 - 16:34
The EU's comprehensive response to migration and working together with its partners show results. With EU support, the International Organisation for Migration have returned 6, 185 people in 2018 alone and the AU-EU-UN Joint Taskforce works with the Libyan authorities to stop the detention of migrants. Cooperation with partners in the Sahel is being enhanced to tackle migrant smuggling and human trafficking networks.
In today's Progress report EUHigh Representative / Vice-President Federica Mogherini and the Commission take stock of all work strands of the European Agenda on Migration and the Commission's roadmap. The year 2018 had seen 77% fewer arrivals in the Central Mediterranean than those recorded in the same period in 2017 and the European Union carries on with addressing the root causes of migration while offering alternatives to irregular migration.
To that end, the EU engages with partner countries and international organisations. As EU High Representative / Vice-President Mogherini said: "[w]e believe this is the right way to do things – humane, sustainable, with the right international standards, in cooperation with the UNHCR and the IOM." The EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration supported more than 27, 000 people returned since May 2017. 1, 152 people have been evacuated from Libya to Niger through the EU-funded UNHCR Emergency Transit Mechanism for further resettlement to Europe. Today's Progress report calls upon the UNHCR and the Member States to work towards increased evacuation and resettlements. The EU supports this with EUR 20 million.
The successful cooperation and partnership under the AU-EU-UN Joint Taskforce goes on and key next steps discussed with the Libyan authorities – as well as with IOM and UNHCR – include the facilitation of the humanitarian evacuation operation, improved conditions of migrants and refugees in detention centres towards the closure of detention centres in their current form. Up to now, 1,000 refugees have been released from detention.
The EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa is paramount for the European Union's work. With 147 programmes, for a total amount of EUR 2.59 billion so far, it is funding crucial initiatives such as voluntary returns from Libya. There is, however, a significant funding gap of around EUR 1.2 billion. Its ongoing success will depend from adequate funding together by the EU and also the Member States.
In order to strengthen common EU action and coordination with partners on the ground the Commission today also proposes a revision of the legislation on Immigration Liaison Officers deployed by EU Member States to non-EU countries.
Today's Progress report underlines the importance of the EU's comprehensive approach to migration management and the need to maintain the intensity of the EU's work. As EU High Representative / Vice-President Mogherini put it: "[t]he work on safe and dignified returns goes together with saving lives and arresting human traffickers both at sea and at land, it goes together with our Emergency Trust Fund for Africa to tackle the root causes of migration, and with our new External Investment Fund to create jobs and growth in the most fragile parts of our region."
EU High Representative / Vice-President Mogherini has made migration a priority of the external action since the very beginning. To this effect, work continues on all fronts. Earlier this month the Commission proposed in its long-term budget for 2021-2017 the almost tripling expenditure for migration and external border management. The upcoming European Union-African Union College to College meeting on 23 May 2018 will be another good opportunity to discuss issues of common interest with our partners. And the June European Council will hold discussions on the internal and external migration policy aspects where the EU High Representative is reporting on the work done in the field of external migration policy.