Europe and Africa pledge new approach on migration issue | News | DW | 28.11.2014
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Europe and Africa pledge new approach on migration issue

European and African ministers have agreed to adopt a coordinated approach to deal with the issue of migration. They are in Rome to discuss the humanitarian crisis caused by a surge in the number of migrants.

Interior ministers of 58 European and African countries convened on Friday for a summit on migration in the Italian capital of Rome.

In a joint commentary published in the German daily Frankfurter Rundschau on Friday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni said that by strengthening the educational and health systems in African countries, Europe can tackle the refugee problem.

The two ministers emphasized the importance of comprehensive strategies and a collaborative approach - that goes beyond the policing of borders - to deal with the issue.

Senegal's interior minister, Abdoulaye Daouda Diallo, said Thursday the migration issue was creating problems for both the European countries and their Mediterranean neighbors. However, Diallo said the fourth round of the so-called Rabat process in Rome had resulted in a "significant forward step" in terms of its objectives.

"For Africa, it is not desirable to see some of its best people leaving while European countries find themselves with newcomers they feel they cannot deal with," Diallo said.

Italy, the host of the summit, has been particularly affected by a rise in the number of North African migrants seeking to enter Europe by sea. At least 165,000 migrants - an increase of about 100,000 people compared to last year - have entered Europe via the Mediterranean this year, according to some estimates.

The meeting of the EU and African ministers comes as a ship carrying more than 700 men, women and children broke down in international waters about 30 nautical miles (56 kilometers) from the Mediterranean on Thursday. The ship was later towed to the Greek island of Crete. It is one of the largest refugee boats to make the crossing in recent months.

shs/kms (AFP, dpa)

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