Interior ministers from 12 countries in Europe and Africa met in Tunis to discuss migration issues including cooperation on repatriations, strengthening efforts and collaboration against human trafficking, and facing the root causes of irregular migration.
The countries – Algeria, Austria, France, Italy, Libya, Mali, Malta, Niger, Slovenia, Switzerland, Chad, and Tunisia – have decided to improve coordination of their efforts to manage migration in the Central Mediterranean. Representatives from the European Commission and the Council of the European Union are also attending the meetings.
A statement from the meeting said that to face the root causes of irregular migration, there must be efforts to “facilitate integrated and inclusive development in the countries of origin and transit, in particular in regions with strong migratory potential”.
It also said this could be done by “placing particular attention on the framework of the EU External Investment Plan” announced by the European Commission and “in particular, with the support of private initiatives and strengthening work opportunities”.
To strengthen efforts for cooperation against migrant trafficking, the focus is also on “supporting border authorities in countries of origin and transit as well as prevention and management of irregular migration, border surveillance and security, through training, equipment and support of infrastructure, in particular, in light of the strengthening of the management of land borders in Libya that have a strategic value for Libya, Europe, and Africa”.
Regarding repatriations, among other elements, is the plan to “support programmes of voluntary repatriation” and “strengthen cooperation in terms of readmission”.