EU-Africa summit concludes with both sides agreeing to do more to tackle poverty

European council president Donald Tusk has reaffirmed the EU’s commitment to tackling povery in Africa.

Speaking after the conclusion of the EU-Africa summit last week, he said; “We have just ended a successful fifth African Union - European Union Summit. Its theme was 'Youth', and we heard input from African and European youth representatives, which brought a new energy to our discussions.

“The European Union is Africa’s biggest partner and closest neighbour. Its biggest investor, its biggest trading partner, its biggest provider of development aid and humanitarian assistance as well as its biggest contributor in peace and security. And this summit demonstrated our determination to reinforce our partnership even more.”

Tusk added, “Strengthening our dialogue on migration enhances our efforts. And it complements what we agreed in Valletta in 2015. Migration has a significant impact on both of our continents. So we have a joint responsibility to acknowledge it as an important part of our relationship, which requires that we act together."

The former Polish PM said, “This is especially true when it comes to the situation in Libya with the most cynical abuse of human beings. Let me repeat my call to impose UN sanctions on human smugglers and traffickers. And let me also say that we will not be effective, if we do not ensure that the people caught up in Libya and elsewhere can return safely to their homes.

“On the European side, I have again called on my colleagues to live up to their commitment to replenish the EU Trust Fund for Africa. And I am sure that we will make it. In fact, we already did.”

African and European leaders, who gathered  this week in Abidjan for the 5th AU/EU Summit, discussed the terrible media reports on inhuman treatment of African migrants and refugees by criminal groups.

They condemned in the strongest terms any such criminal acts and expressed their firm resolve to work together for an immediate end of these criminal practices and to ensure the wellbeing of the migrants and refugees. They also agreed to widely communicate to the youth about the dangers of such hazardous journeys and against the trafficking networks. They welcomed ongoing efforts of the Presidential Council and the Government of National Accord of Libya in undertaking appropriate measures to address such incidents, as a thorough and swift investigation has been launched in Libya, including to confirm the validity of media allegations.

They called to support Libya, through international cooperation, in undertaking immediate action to fight against the perpetrator of such crimes, inside and outside Libya, and to bring them to justice. This international cooperation should cover enhanced police and judicial mutually agreed cooperation, including freezing of assets of convicted perpetrators.

 They stressed the imperative need to improve the conditions of migrants and refugees in Libya and to undertake all necessary action to provide them with the appropriate assistance and to facilitate their voluntary repatriation to their countries of origin as well as durable solutions for refugees. 

In this regard, they stressed the need for all Libyan stakeholders to facilitate access by international organisations and by consular officials of countries of origin.

The leaders welcomed the African Union Commission for swift engagement, including the AUC Commissioner visit to Libya. They also commended the existing work by UN agencies, African countries of origin, and the EU, which together have already allowed for 13,000 assisted voluntary returns of stranded migrants to their countries of origin.

The participants aid they have committed to work together between AU, UN, EU, Libyan government and countries of origin and transit, and to take the necessary means and actions, in order to accelerate exponentially this work, while continuing to ensure with international organizations that voluntary resettlement is available for those in need, whether to countries of origin or third countries.

Those present greed that lasting resolution of the issue of African migrants is closely linked to addressing the root causes of the phenomenon and requires a political solution to the persistent crisis in Libya. 

In this respect, they stressed the imperative need for coordinated action involving all the stakeholders concerned, especially the African Union, the United Nations, the European Union and the League of Arab States, in order to expedite the lasting solution to the crisis. To this end, they committed themselves to convey a common and coherent message.

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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