'Absolute majority' of EU leaders to attend Valletta Summit

43 heads of EU and African states and governments confirm attendance • Almost half of leaders are from African nations

Photo: EU
Photo: EU

The absolute majority of EU heads of state and government have confirmed their attendance to the Valletta Summit, taking place on 11 and 12 November.

In April 2015 the European Council called for an international summit to discuss migration issues with African and other key countries concerned.

The conference will build on existing cooperation processes between Europe and Africa, particularly the Rabat and Khartoum processes on migration, and the EU-Africa Dialogue on Migration and Mobility. 

EU member states, countries members of the Rabat and Khartoum processes, observers to the Rabat process, representatives of the African Union commission and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) commission, the United Nations (UN) and the International Office on Migration (IOM) have been invited to join the summit.

According to the Valletta Summit taskforce, headed by Jonathan Cardona, 43 countries have so far confirmed their attendance, almost half of which hail from African nations.

80% of those who confirmed their attendance are heads of state or government.

The European Union is looking towards the Valletta Summit as an opportunity “to forge a real Euro-African partnership” on migration, Council President Donald Tusk had said.

More than 700,000 refugees and asylum seekers are estimated to have arrived by sea so far this year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), but exact numbers are unclear as some may have passed through borders undetected.

Germany continues to be the most popular destination for migrants arriving in Europe. It has received the highest number of new asylum applications, with almost 222,000 by the end of August.

Hungary has moved into second place, as more migrants have tried to make the journey overland through Greece and the Western Balkans. It had 96,350 applications by the end of July.

Tusk – who on Tuesday 10 November will address the Maltese Parliament along with European Parliament President Martin Schulz – said that the leaders will aim at exploring possibilities for developing safe and sustainable reception capacities in the affected regions.

“We will ask Member States to further contribute to the efforts made to support UNHCR, the World Food Programme and other agencies, as well as to support the EU's Regional Trust Fund responding to the Syria crisis and the EU Trust Fund for Africa,” Tusk said.

A ceremony will take place to mark the signing of the Trust Fund.

Combined with CHOGM 2015 – where Malta was only informed last year it would take place on the island as opposed to the customary four-year preparation period – Malta is set to welcome over 4,000 participants in both summits.

Over 1,800 journalists have signed up to cover the 120 countries taking part in Valletta Summit and CHOGM 2015.

The summits will be spread over 15 venues around Malta and Gozo.

According to the CHOGM 2015 taskforce, this year’s Commonwealth heads of governments meeting is set to have a record number of attendees amid increasing interest in the CHOGM Business Forum.

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