EU, Africa talk migration and brain drain

African Union and the EU have agreed on more co-operation to stop illegal migration through promoting socio-economic development.

The first African Union-European Union conference on migration took place in Tripoli, Libya, on 22-23 November 2006. The African and European ministers adopted a Joint EU-Africa declaration on migration and development in which they agree to co-operate more to tackle illegal immigration through development. 

One of the issues discussed in the conference was brain drain, “which can have serious consequencies for Africa”. In their joint declaration the African and EU states “commit to promoting policies and reforms to reduce brain drain” by promoting socio-economic (human resource) development, strengthening educational systems and “supporting programmes which foster mobility and temporary return of members of the diasporas with the necessary skills in their countries of origin, in order to contribute to capacity building”. 

“Immigration is not a problem of security. It’s a problem of eradicating its root causes – poverty, armed conflict and unemployment,” said Justice, Freedom and Security Commissioner Franco Frattini.

However, in the conference, the EU turned down the African ministers’ proposal to create a special development fund, provided by the EU, to finance development projects that would prevent young Africans to leave their continent for Europe. This type of fund could, eventually, be established from contributions of European and African countries and international partners and financial institutions. “I’m convinced that African countries need to establish migration agencies that could co-ordinate supply and demand,” said the Development Commissioner Louis Michel.

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