Valletta summit • African leaders want more legal avenues for migration

Latest draft text calls for doubling, by 2017, the number of scholarships for African students and academic staff under the EU’s Erasmus programme

European and African leaders want different things from next week’s migration summit in Malta, according to the euobsever.

The latest draft text, dated Monday (26 October), calls for doubling, by 2017, the number of scholarships for African students and academic staff under the EU’s Erasmus programme. But it focuses on how to keep people out by enhancing “operational police cooperation and exchange of information between countries of origin, transit, and destination of migration with immediate effect”.

It calls for improving intelligence gathering and sharing among African states, plus supporting “national capabilities to control land, sea and air borders, as well as maritime surveillance capabilities.”

The African states want more legal migration channels to the EU, but EU negotiators want readmission agreements to help send people back.

“There is no secret that the Africans are looking for opportunity for legal migration, work permits and these kinds of things, while the Europeans are focusing more on returns and readmission,” an EU official told euobserver.com.

A series of four draft summit conclusions, leaked over the past few weeks, show progressive watering down of EU proposals on legal intakes.

A previous draft spoke of creating “centres [in Africa] for potential asylum seekers where, after pre-screening, they could benefit from safe and legal ways to the EU.”

But the 26 October text speaks, more vaguely, of plans to “explore the concept of enhanced capacities in priority  regions along the main migratory routes, with a view to  developing possible pilot projects.”

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