- European Union offered more than £1billion in aid to African counterparts
- In return, Africa would have to take back thousands of illegal migrants
- But the controversial deal was rejected at a summit in Valletta, Malta
- Cameron says £200million of UK aid money will be used to tackle crisis
According to the Daily Mail, the recent effort by European Union and African leaders to strike a deal that would facilitate the deportation of thousands of illegal migrants from Europe to Africa has met a brick wall.
The European Union has been forced to drop controversial plans to deport failed asylum seekers who do not have passports after African countries blocked the move.
European leaders offered more than £1billion aid in a bid to persuade their African counterparts to take back tens of thousands of illegal migrants.
But a migration summit in Valletta, Malta, descended into farce after the Africans rejected the EU plan to expel those who do not qualify for asylum using special papers.
The ‘laissez passer’ travel documents issued to Africans without identification are aimed at easing their return back to countries they left or travelled through.
Under the proposal, EU countries would decide where a person without a passport has come from in Africa and issue the papers in lieu of a passport.
Many people arrive in Europe without identity papers with some falsely claiming to be Syrians or Iraqis in order to increase their chances of being granted asylum.
Draft conclusions for the summit of EU and African leaders written earlier this week showed it was planned they would agree to ‘enhance recognition of the EU laissez passer for return purposes’.
But last night it emerged that this would not be in the final conclusions when they are adopted today. A leaked copy of document handed to the Mail showed the line had been removed.
David Cameron last night announced the UK will use £200 million of aid money to help African countries tackle the migrant crisis.
The government said the funding, which will be given between now and 2020, will be used to help African countries cope with economic pressures, environmental disasters such as droughts and problems of corruption. It will also be used to provide humanitarian support for refugees.
The Government will provide £125 million to Ethiopia, which has seen its refugee population soar from 90,000 in 2011 to 700,000 in 2015.
Some £5 million will be used to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance in the Sahel countries such as Mali and Burkina Faso, with the money providing food, water and shelter.
As part of the drive to tackle the root causes of the problem, a £13 million programme will create 9,000 jobs in Somalia, giving them the option of choosing to ‘stay where they are and not be coming to Europe’.
A No10 source said as well as announcing the money, Mr Cameron would use a working dinner last night to urge African leaders to do more to accept the return of migrants who have tried to enter the European Union illegally.
‘The Prime Minister will be emphasising to the Africans that they have got to work with us on returns. We welcome the co-operation they have shown so far but it’s very important that we develop the situation where we are able to return illegal migrants who arrive in the Mediterranean,’ she said.
Mr Cameron vowed the UK will play a ‘huge and historic role’ in helping to tackle the migration crisis, including stepping up efforts to ‘smash’ gangs of human traffickers.
He said it was ‘the biggest problem facing Europe today’, with a movement of people greater than any seen since the end of the Second World War.
Mr Cameron was last night left embarrassed after a live video feed of one of the summit sessions showed him texting on his BlackBerry while other leaders were speaking.