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2/3/17

EU leaders approve plan to curb migration from Libya, Africa – by Daniela Vincenti

EU leaders rubber stamped a plan to curb migration from Libya at an informal summit in Malta today (3 February), offering Tripoli €200 million to better control its borders.

“We managed to achieve progress and unity,” said Joseph Muscat, prime minister of Malta, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU.

The deadly route across the Central Mediterranean is now the main gateway to Europe, with some 181,000 arrivals in 2016. It is run by smugglers who operate with impunity in Libya, which slid into chaos after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

EU leaders agreed on immediate operational measures that should help reduce the number of irregular migrants and save lives of those who attempt to risk the journey through the Central Mediterranean route.

Since the start of the decade, over 13,000 irregular migrants have lost their lives trying to cross through that route.

The plan agreed in Malta is supposed to train, equip and support Libyan coastguards to stop people smugglers and increase search and rescue operations, which in the last two years has saved over 400,000 lives.

“We will deliver economic assistance to local communities in Libya to improve their situation, and help them shelter stranded migrants,” said European Council President Donald Tusk, speaking to journalists after the meeting.

The EU will work in close cooperation with the International Organisation for Migration and the UN Refugee Agency to step up voluntary returns from Libya to countries of origin.

Read more: EU leaders approve plan to curb migration from Libya, Africa – EurActiv.com

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