Yahoo – AFP, 3 April 2014
|African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma speaks on the|
second day of 4th EU-Africa summit on April 3, 2014, at the EU Headquarters
in Brussels (AFP Photo/John Thys)
Brussels (AFP) - EU and African leaders trying to stop migrants from crossing the Mediterranean in perilous conditions unveiled a raft of measures on Thursday designed to boost development and crack down on human trafficking.
A huge summit bringing together some 80 leaders from the two continents touched on security, business and climate change, with sideline talks on the violence-hit Central African Republic.
There were so many delegates in town that the summit caused two days of traffic snarls in Brussels.
After tragic scenes of migrants storming fences in Spain and drownings off the Italian island of Lampedusa, delegates drew up a detailed plan to boost legal immigration while trying to dissuade Africans from trying to reach Europe illegally.
"If we concentrate on improving the skills of our people, investing in them, they will not have to come through Lampedusa," said Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, head of the African Union Commission.
"They'll come through the airports and the ports and they will be welcome," she said.
In the plan, the first of its kind, the two blocs commit to putting their resources together to normalise migration, with a focus on development and education on the one hand, and tightening borders and fighting traffickers on the other.
A joint statement said the EU and AU would "upscale efforts in combating trafficking in human beings" and "fight irregular migration".
Immigration charities estimate between 17,000 and 20,000 migrants have died at sea while trying to reach Europe in the past 20 years, but fighting the phenomenon from both Africa and Europe has proved difficult.
Delegates failed to reach an agreement on migration at the last Africa-EU summit in 2010 -- an unusual affair hosted in Moamer Kadhafi's Libya -- with Africans reluctant to impose tighter controls at their shores.
European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said the agreement was a "real breakthrough, a very important declaration".
In one of the worst ever Mediterranean migrant tragedies, a boat overloaded with refugees, mostly from strife-torn Somalia and Eritrea, caught fire and capsized last October off the island of Lampedusa.
Some 366 people lost their lives, prompting calls for an overhaul of European migration and asylum policies.
Let me tell you where else it's happening that you are unaware - that which is the beginning of the unity of the African states. Soon the continent will have what they never had before, and when that continent is healed and there is no AIDS and no major disease, they're going to want what you have. They're going to want houses and schools and an economy that works without corruption. They will be done with small-minded leaders who kill their populations for power in what has been called for generations "The History of Africa." Soon it will be the end of history in Africa, and a new continent will emerge.
Be aware that the strength may not come from the expected areas, for new leadership is brewing. There is so much land there and the population is so ready there, it will be one of the strongest economies on the planet within two generations plus 20 years. And it's going to happen because of a unifying idea put together by a few. These are the potentials of the planet, and the end of history as you know it.
In approximately 70 years, there will be a black man who leads this African continent into affluence and peace. He won't be a president, but rather a planner and a revolutionary economic thinker. He, and a strong woman with him, will implement the plan continent-wide. They will unite. This is the potential and this is the plan. Africa will arise out the ashes of centuries of disease and despair and create a viable economic force with workers who can create good products for the day. You think China is economically strong? China must do what it does, hobbled by the secrecy and bias of the old ways of its own history. As large as it is, it will have to eventually compete with Africa, a land of free thinkers and fast change. China will have a major competitor, one that doesn't have any cultural barriers to the advancement of the free Human spirit. …."