Multi-million euro deal for migrants’ return

Friday, September 15, 2017

If everything goes as planned, hundreds of Senegambians will be affected, following a meeting between certain African presidents and European Union (EU) leaders, namely France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

The said EU countries are currently considering providing huge sum of cash to help resettle or prevent asylum-seekers and other migrants from returning to Europe.

The deal, according to international migration and legal experts, is an important bid to achieve political agreement or avoid the danger of further movement of people across the Mediterranean in the hands of traffickers.  

But the bone of contention currently overshadowing the issue is the debate whether or not there is a proper identification of those fleeing genuine persecution and those merely seeking greener pastures.

Even though the amount of money was not immediately disclosed, The Point reliably learnt that an estimated 60 million euros was a proposal from Emmanuel Macron, the new French President.

Macron is very passionate about protecting refugees, but he is now also trying to maintain a balance regarding illegal migration.  He said that the issue is now a ‘’problem that concerns us all and cannot be solved without us all.’’

The Point can also confirm that leaders and representatives from both Chad and Niger attended the meeting, in consultation with certain West African leaders.  The meeting was described as a ‘’crisis and means of testing the cooperation’’ between members from both the EU and the AU.

Even though the meeting in Paris was seen as a mini-summit, it was attended by some of the most influential EU leaders, prompting the politicians to stress that their main ambition is to ‘’prevent further illegal migration in the interest of both sides’’.

African leaders and representatives also acknowledged during the meeting that ‘’poverty and lack of education’’ were the main factors driving people to take the risky journey.  But African intellectuals in Europe were not happy with that.  They cautioned their leaders against ‘’inaction, inability and lack of will’’ to provide coherent plan for ‘’viable economic, good governance and respect for population’’.

Nonetheless, during the months of July and August, it is estimated that the percentage of migrants reaching Italy from Libya dropped drastically.  But some of the EU member states are still expressing concern over the matter. Evidently, some EU politicians have also been affected and eventually paid a heavy political price.

The well-respected International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and other agencies have been very instrumental in assisting and recording such numbers moving across from Africa to Europe.

Some politicians are already taking credit for the decline in numbers.  Italy has confirmed that it has now good relations with ‘tribes’ of the Southern Sahara in Libya, who are seen as the ‘’true guardians’’ of the area.

The tribes recently visited Rome and there was a deal for a ‘’reasonable solution’’, prompting allegations of a ‘’bribe’’. But the issue of bribery has been vehemently denied.  However, it was accepted that ‘’talking and meeting’’ was best for both sides and that it is yielding great results.

Seeking their reaction over the matter, this correspondent contacted some Senegambians who are still waiting for their status to be approved or rejected. Such are currently in somewhat precarious and uncertain circumstances.

Some are happily willing to return as long as there is ‘’something else we can engage in’’. But others are reluctant to move an inch and still engulf with the conspiracy theory that the ‘’whole project is meant to remove us in a sinister manner’’.

Author: Alhagie Mbye, The Point’s Europe Correspondent.
Source: Picture: European Union and African leaders pose for a family photo during a European Union Africa summit in Brussels April 2, 2014.Yves Herman