On Sunday, the EU-Mali agreement which enables the return of Malian migrants who are leaving for Europe and failed asylum-seekers was signed.
“It is the first time the EU establishes such a precise mechanism with an African country with regards to returning failed asylum seekers,” a statement from the Dutch foreign ministry, which signed the agreement on the EU’s behalf, said.
The agreement has the aim of dealing with the root causes of illegal migration as well as enabling the “return from Europe of Malian migrants.”
The agreement follows a summit which took place in Valleta, capital of Malta, in November 2015. At the summit, EU and African leaders agreed to set up a $1.9bn fund to help address the root causes of migration.
On the other end, African countries are expected to beef up border controls while accepting the return of these migrants who have been denied the right to remain in Europe.
The EU-Mali agreement will aid young people in finding employment, as well as strengthening Mali’s security forces.
Another role the Malian government is expected to play in light of the EU-Mali deal is combating the predicament of people-smugglers. Mali and neighbouring countries are advised to improve their border security in a bid to fight against people-smugglers.
The deal, which also consisted of a total of nine projects, is based on a budget of 145.1 million euros.
Some state workers will also travel to EU member states to “help determine the identity of migrants, in order to accelerate their return.”
“Young Malians have so much to give to their country. We must help stop Malians travelling to North Africa or Europe from losing their lives or falling into the hands of people smugglers,” Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said.
As the world experiences a burgeoning refugee crisis, the shores of Europe has seen a particular increase in migrants from Mali, Nigeria and The Gambia, who risk their lives in a bid to find asylum in Europe.