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Paris mini-summit: EU, African leaders meet to discuss migration

The meeting might also provide information on why arrivals have plummeted in recent weeks from Libya

28 August 2017, 11:00am
French president Emmanuel Macron is hosting a mini summit
French president Emmanuel Macron is hosting a mini summit
Germany, Spain, Italy and the European Commission are joining France during talks organised with Niger, Chad and UN-backed Libyan government to discuss migration

French President Emmanuel Macron has invited his counterparts from Niger and Chad as well as the head of the Libyan unity government Fayez al-Sarraj, whose countries lie on the main transit route for migrants heading to Europe, France 24 reports.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Spanish and Italian prime ministers Mariano Rajoy and Paulo Gentiloni, and Europe’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, will join the talks.

France is seeking improved border controls and patrolling of the waters around Libya complicated by the country’s competing governments and state of lawlessness as well as development aid to create jobs in Africa.

“The fight against illegal migration is being led on two fronts: development and security,” a source in the French presidency told France 24, asking not to be named.

A total of 125,000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean by boat this year, according to UN figures, with the vast majority arriving in Italy before travelling on to other EU members. An estimated 2,400 have died en route.

In July, Macron also proposed without consulting his allies the creation of so-called hotspots in Africa where asylum seekers fleeing persecution or war could lodge a request to travel to the EU.

The meeting, France 24 added, might also provide information on why arrivals have plummeted in recent weeks from Libya, the main route into Europe since a separate pathway from Turkey into Greece was shut down in 2016.

The numbers arriving in Italy have fallen by around 50 percent in July and August compared with last year, leaving experts scrambling for an answer.