ROME, JANUARY 30 – The “Italian Fund for Africa” will soon be a reality. Next Wednesday in Rome the Minister of Foreign Affairs Angelino Alfano will illustrate the contents of an executive order which will mobilize 200 million Euros to stop illegal immigration.
“The funding will be used to sustain strategic initiatives aimed at stopping departures, enforcing the borders and tackling human trafficking”, Alfano said in a statement on the Ministry web site. The Minister added that “it’s a big step forward, in line with other initiatives taken by the Italian government to improve stability and security, both in Italy and in Europe”.
European Union leaders will in Malta on Friday to give their political backing to a series of new measures aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from the Libyan coast to Italy. Among the key elements of a draft declaration, seen by Reuters, to be made by the EU leaders are “the determination to take additional action to stem migratory flows along the Central Mediterranean route and break the business model of smugglers… in full respect for human rights and international law” and in conjunction with the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) and International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Leaders would agree to provide and fund more training, equipment and support to the Libyan national coastguard, and seek to break smugglers’ networks; they would also seek to ensure “adequate reception capacities and conditions in Libya for migrants”. The EU would attempt to step up voluntary returns by migrants, telling them along their route across Africa about the perils of the journey, to discourage them from trying. It would help police Libya’s land borders by offering financing, training or equipment to help ensure fewer people get into Libya. (@OnuItalia)