60 leaders from the European and African countries gathered yesterday in Valletta to discuss the refugee and migration crisis in a two day summit mostly dedicated to readmission plans and management of migration fluxes. Critics have already complained about the meeting euro-centric nature. “We can’t just have this discussion from the European perspective” Macky Sall – President of Senegal – said, while African leaders stated that they would commit “to cooperate with the EU on return and admission, notably on travel documentation”. If someone feels the need to adopt a new perspective to deal with the issue, many complain about the absence of a discussion focused on human rights and the “opacity” of bilateral agreement concluded during the summit which was closed to civil society. ONGs and human rights associations fear that the meeting purpose will exclusively be strategically securing European borders.
During the meeting the EU signed an agreement with Ethiopia to fight clandestine migration and human trafficking. Not only Ethiopia is an important passage point for migrants who want to reach Europe, but it also hosts at least 700.000 migrants from other African countries. Addis Abeba will thus have access to a 1.8 billion euros fund to help African countries to deal with the immigration crisis.
Federica Mogherini – High representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy -declared that not only did European and African leaders start to elaborate a plan on the protection of refugees, the rescue operations at sea and the creation of economic opportunities in Africa, but they also discussed about the legal channels of entry in Europe. While some countries are opening up they barriers, some others are securing up borders while refugees and asylum seekers keep on pushing on European countries and die every day trying to reach EU’s countries.
The definitive Action Plan elaborated by the leaders will be made public after the summit.