The European Union (EU) is planning to create a 1.8 billion euro ($2billion) trust fund for Africa as one of the ways to tackle the EU migrant crisis.
The Emergency Trust Fund will help in promoting stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration in Africa.
European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, while addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg yesterday, said that the fund will be used to “to address the crisis in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions, the Horn of Africa, and the North of Africa,”
The EU also plans to use its development aid budget to reduce poverty and other factors that drive migration, to encourage governments to curb people-smuggling gangs and dissuade their citizens from migrating, and to cooperate with EU deportation procedures.
“We want to help create lasting stability, for instance by creating employment opportunities in local communities, and thereby address the root causes of destabilization, forced displacement and illegal migration,” he said.
EU aims to have the fund fully established in time for the EU-African Union summit in Malta on November 11-12.
LEGAL MIGRATION AND RELOCATION
Among other plans by the commission to deal with the immigrant crisis is a review of schemes to issue EU visas to skilled workers and relocation.
Mr. Juncker also told the Parliament that the Commission plans to force other EU member states to take a share of 160,000 migrants arriving in countries overwhelmed by the refugee crisis notably Italy, Greece and Hungary through a quota scheme.
The Commission proposes to relocate 120,000 people in clear need of international protection from Italy (15,600), Greece (50,400) and Hungary (54,000). The relocation would be done according to a mandatory distribution key using objective and quantifiable criteria (40% of the size of the population, 40% of the GDP, 10% of the average number of past asylum applications, 10% of the unemployment rate).
“Europe is a continent where almost everyone has been a refugee,” adding that “We Europeans should know and should never forget why giving refuge and complying with the fundamental right to asylum is so important. It is time we started putting in place the building blocks of a truly European migration policy, as we called for back in May. The measures we are proposing today will ensure that people in clear need of international protection are relocated swiftly after arriving – not just now but also for any crisis in the future. If ever European solidarity needed to manifest itself, it is on the question of the refugee crisis. It is time to show collective courage and deliver this European response now.” He said.
Those who process people’s claims to refugee status would receive 6,000 euros per person, with Italy, Greece and Hungary receiving 500 euros per person relocated. The total cost is put at 780 million euros.
The new proposals by the commission also give provisions for asylum seekers to be allowed to work while their claim is being processed. In most European countries, asylum seekers are banned from doing so and have to rely on obtaining state benefits.