New EU project to address root causes of migration

Monday, August 27, 2018

The European Union office in The Gambia has announced a new project expected to be launched soon to help address the root causes of migration in The Gambia. The announcement was made during a breakfast meeting with the members of the media organised by the EU Banjul office to shed light on its intervention projects across the country.

“The Gambia has received lots of support from the EU in forms of projects towards addressing illegal migration, and we are going to launch a second package in efforts to addressing root causes of migration by a theme: build a future, make it in Gambia”  Attila Lajos, EU Ambassador to The Gambia told journalists at the meeting. 

“Build a future, Make it in Gambia” is a €20Million project that is funded from the EU Africa Trust Fund, which was designed to help address the root causes of irregular migration, destabilisation and forced displacement across Africa. The European Union and its partner programme – the Youth Empowerment Project has embarked on a series of initiatives aimed at empowering young people to stay at home and venture into entrepreneurship, such as the Youth Agribusiness and Tourism Expo Conference, which was launched recently. 

The Gambia has one of the highest number of migrants that enter Europe through irregular means in Sub-saharan Africa. However, since the country regained track to democratic rule following the election of President Adama Barrow, the European Union has always made known its intention clear to return Gambian migrants that are illegally residing in Europe. The ambassador used the opportunity to announce that they are negotiating the arrival of the first batch with The Gambia government.

“One of the basic principles in EU countries is the respect for rule of law. Those migrants are in a positions whereby they exhaust all the legal ways of obtaining asylum to remain in the country, those are migrants to be returned,” said Lajos during the breakfast meeting.

“We are in negotiation with the government on how to tackle this because we also want to make sure that there is no huge number of migrants returned to The Gambia when the Gambian circumstances is not ready to absorb and reintegrate them,” he added.

He was, however, quick to add that the EU would continue to support the new government in reintegrating the returnee migrants into their community as well as become self-reliant and engage in meangningful undertakings.  

The EU is currently assisting the reintegration of more than 3400 youths who have been returned from Libya and elsewhere in Africa. Through the International Trade Centre (ITC), the EU is also supporting the Youth Empowerment Project, which is making head ways in job creation and youth engagement.