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Deaths of illegal imigrants on way into EU

Commission deplores tragic events in Ceuta and Melilla

The Commission deeply regrets the tragic events in Ceuta and Melilla which led to the untimely death of several persons. It is necessary to intensify cooperation on tackling illegal migration with Morocco and the main countries of origin in Africa, as part of a broader partnership on migration-related issues. The Commission proposes concrete initiatives for this purpose.

“This awful tragedy is another demonstration of the urgent need to step up our joint efforts to manage migration more effectively”, said Commission Vice-President Franco Frattini. “The loss of life is tragic. Border guards are also risking their lives to save those of others who try to make their way illegally into the EU across the Mediterranean. I confirm the EU’s wholehearted commitment to respecting human rights and preventing further losses of life. While recognizing that Member States remain responsible for the control of their external borders, I know that the EU must do more to prevent and tackle illegal migration from Africa into the EU. In the recent past, I have taken various initiatives to develop an EU policy on illegal migration. Faced with increasing migratory pressures, the EU must redouble its efforts urgently”.

Vice President Frattini intends to raise this issue in the course of the next JHA Council, to be held on 12 October 2005 in Luxembourg.

The EU is already engaged in a dialogue with Morocco on migration and related matters. Both sides have identified priorities for cooperation and have agreed to implement a 40 € million project to reinforce border controls in Morocco. Senior representatives from the EU will meet in Brussels on 3 October to discuss ways of further intensifying EU-Moroccan cooperation. The Commission will urge Morocco to conclude the negotiations on an EC readmission agreement before the extraordinary meeting on the Barcelona process that will take place on 27 and 28 November 2005. This agreement will be highly beneficial in fighting illegal migration.

The EU is also intensifying its relations with Libya. The Commission has informal and fruitful contacts with Libya and both sides are committed to agreeing a joint EU-Libya Action Plan on tackling illegal migration before the end of this year. For the first time, this plan will pave the way for launching specific cooperation measures with this country.

Dialogue and cooperation with the main Sub-Saharan African counties of origin is fundamental in addressing migratory movements on the African continent. The Communications presented by the Commission on 1 September on Regional Protection Programmes and on Migration and Development provide concrete proposals on how to take this important work forward.

The EU will take initiatives to foster dialogue and cooperation with Africa on multilateral and bilateral level. Migration issues should be a top priority for cooperation between the EU and the African Union (AU). Concrete proposals for cooperation should be presented to the AU before the end of the year. The meeting on 12 October with representatives of the AU Commission provides a timely opportunity to explore such initiatives.

In addition, the Commission will soon present a Communication setting out new initiatives on fighting trafficking in human beings. In the course of 2006 new proposals on tackling illegal migration will be made public with. New initiatives will be proposed covering both the internal and external dimensions of EU illegal immigration policy.

The EU aims to put in place a wide and innovative framework dealing with illegal migration in a comprehensive manner, making use of all the instruments the EU and its Member States have at their disposal.

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