EU Seeks Africa Help in Migrant Crisis

EU Seeks Africa Help in Migrant CrisisEU Seeks Africa Help in Migrant Crisis

EU leaders struck an aid-for-cooperation deal with Africa and proposed a summit this year with Turkey in a two-front push with wary partners to tackle an unprecedented migrant crisis.

Meeting with their African counterparts in Malta, the leaders approved a 1.8-billion-euro ($1.9-billion) plan to fight poverty in Africa while accelerating the repatriation of failed asylum seekers, despite open reluctance from the African side, AFP reported.

The leaders from the 28-nation European Union later huddled separately before announcing plans for a summit in Brussels with Turkey by the end of the year.

President Jean-Claude Juncker said his European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, would offer €500 million to Turkey and urged member states to come up with a further €2.5 billion to help Turkey cope with millions of asylum seekers on its soil, most of them from war-torn Syria. The announcements marked a two-front push by the EU to regain control of its southern and eastern borders, which roughly 800,000 asylum seekers have crossed this year in the biggest migratory flux in Europe since World War II.

The bulk of them have come via Turkey, but the EU sees the problems in Africa driving migration as long-term.

“We have decided that we will have the summit with Turkey,” EU Council President Donald Tusk told a press conference in a new bid to court President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who last month dismissed EU overtures for cooperation as insufficient.

Tusk said it was “99% sure” the summit would take place by the end of this month, while French President Francois Hollande told reporters it could take place “at the end of November or beginning of December”.