World News

France holds migrant summit with EU and African leaders

Posted August 28

European leaders will meet their counterparts from Niger, Chad and Libya in Paris on Monday to discuss ways of stemming economic migration.

The mini-summit, organized by French President Emmanuel Macron, will be attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Italian premier Paolo Gentiloni along with EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini.

Representing the three African countries are Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou, Chadian President Idriss Deby, and the Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord of Libya, Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj.

Many African refugees and migrants entering the EU under the radar come through the land-locked desert countries of Niger and Chad before crossing into Libya, where they eventually sail to Italy or Spain.

Last month Macron announced his intention to set up "hot spots" in Libya to process refugee claims and prevent them making the treacherous journey across Mediterranean Sea, where more than 2,400 migrants have died so far this year, according to the International Organization for Migration.

"The idea is to create hotspots to avoid people taking crazy risks when they are not all eligible for asylum. We'll go to them," Macron said.

More than 120,000 migrants arrived in Europe by sea from January to August 23, compared to about 261,000 in the same period last year, according to the IOM.

Most of the new arrivals this year were in Italy. But the number of migrants landing on the country's shores in July was half the figure it was in the same month last year, according to the Italian interior ministry.

Italy has adopted an aggressive approach to halting migration across the Mediterranean from north Africa, backing the Libyan coast guard's rescue efforts and cracking down on nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) operating off the country's coast.

Rescue charities including Save the Children, Germany's Sea Eye, and Doctors without Borders (MSF) recently suspended operations in the Mediterranean due to reported clashes with the Libyan coast guard.

Five of the eight NGOs operating at sea refused to sign a controversial Italian-led code of conduct, which restricts their operations.

According to the Italian media, the code is set to be signed by the leaders at the Paris summit.

Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all