During the European Parliament debate on the EU-Africa Summit, Esteban González Pons MEP, Vice-Chairman of the EPP Group responsible for Legal and Home Affairs, urged a proper follow-up to the decisions taken at the meeting.
"The Valletta Summit was very important because Europe and Africa saw each other eye to eye. We have to change the horrible realities in Africa if we want to sustain the comfortable reality in Europe. We should be happy with the agreement reached in Valletta, fighting against mafias cooperating with transit and origin countries. But we have to be aware that without the necessary will, the Valletta results will be a dead letter. This will be the case if intermediaries keep the money and don't forward it", said González Pons.
During the summit, the EU tried to persuade African countries to stop Africans leaving and to take back failed asylum seekers. The European Commission offered €1.8 billion and this in addition to the €20 billion it already gives to Africa in development aid. The Commission wants EU Member States to match that, but few have contributed so far.
It is hoped that these new EU funds will go towards training projects in Africa, small business grants, to help reduce food shortages and also schemes intended to reduce migration and radicalisation.
Esteban González Pons called for the reinforcement of EU common borders: "We should not jeopardise Schengen. We are a community of common values and dignity and therefore we cannot mix terrorism up with migration. These people knocking on our doors are fleeing terrorism. Countries with external borders have to defend them. This crisis will not be over tomorrow or next month. It will last for a generation and therefore what we need is not only the measures decided at a summit, but a common migration and asylum policy and it is there that we should put in all our legislative efforts", stressed the Spanish MEP.
According to the UN, nearly 800,000 migrants arrived in Europe by sea in 2015, while 3,440 have died or gone missing making the journey. Some 150,000 Africans have crossed the Mediterranean so far this year, arriving mainly in Italy. But this is nothing compared to the arrival of some 650,000 people - mostly Syrians - via Turkey and Greece. The European Commission expects about three million refugees/migrants to arrive in Europe by 2017.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 216 Members from 27 Member States