The EU plans to channel more funds to Western African countries to prevent irregular migration heading to the bloc, an official said on Tuesday, Anadolu Agency reports.
Ylva Johansson, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, presented a new action plan for the Western Mediterranean and Atlantic migration routes.
Speaking to reporters in Brussels, she said the EU needs to strengthen its cooperation with African countries to address challenges deriving from migration and to counter people smuggling.
Johansson praised the cooperation with Moroccan authorities to get “the situation under control” after the number of migrants trying to enter the EU through the Canary Islands surged in 2020 and 2021.
Under the draft, the EU will set up “joint investigation teams” with authorities in Mauritania, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Mali and Kenya to “fight trafficking and smuggling”, she said.
The European Commission also proposes to build a “more systematic” cooperation with Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal and Gambia on border management, she further said.
The EU will allocate funds to facilitate the work of “border guards and authorities to prevent irregular migration,” Johansson added.
In addition, the EU’s border and coast guard agency, Frontex, is also expected to assist Morocco, Mauritania and Senegal after signing bilateral agreements.
The EU executive body suggests “to scale up financial support for key countries for voluntary returns”, she said.
Johansson expressed hope that the EU interior ministers will endorse the action plan later this week at their meeting in Luxembourg and negotiations on the final act will start soon with the European Parliament.