EU president says Europe is at risk if it fails to step up contribution to Africa

The European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has called on the European Union member states to contribute to Africa or face risks of migrant influx.

Juncker said on Wednesday during the EU’s State of the Union Address that Europe could face a repeat of the 2015 high influx of migrants when the UN’s World Food Programme ran out of funds.

“Our €2.7 billion EU-Africa Trust Fund is creating employment opportunities across the continent. The EU budget fronted the bulk of the money, but all our Member States combined have still only contributed €150 million. The Fund is currently reaching its limits,” he said.

“We know the dangers of a lack of funding – in 2015 many migrants headed towards Europe when the UN’s World Food Programme ran out of funds. I call on all Member States to now match their actions with their words and ensure the Africa Trust Fund does not meet the same fate,” Juncker added.

He reiterated the Commission’s effort to end the migrants crisis which he said before the end of September, a new set of proposals on returns, solidarity with Africa and opening legal pathways will be presented.

Jean-Claude Juncker Europe must step up work to return irregular migrants and people who have no right to stay in Europe to their countries of origin.

“When only 36% of irregular migrants are returned, it is clear we need to significantly step up our work. This is the only way Europe will be able to show solidarity with refugees in real need of protection,” he said.

He added that the EU will work on opening up legal pathways with the proposals to make it easier for skilled migrants to reach Europe with a Blue Card.

The EU is the biggest humanitarian donor to Africa.

Ivory Coast will host the 5th African Union – European Union Summit in November 2017 to further strengthen the partnership between the two continents.

Author: Ismail Akwei