- EU Foreign Ministers have ordered the start-up of negotiations with Senegal over a so-called "mobility partnership" that could ease legal migration to Europe. A pilot mobility partnership, which regulated migration between the two parties, this month was signed with Cape Verde.
Ministers, at a European Council meeting this week in Luxembourg, urged the European Commission "to take forward exploratory talks with Georgia and Senegal and to open dialogue with these countries, with a view to launching additional pilot mobility partnerships."
The Ministers had already done a positive evaluation of the pilot mobility agreement signed earlier this month with Cape Verde, finding that such bilateral deals could provide a good basis for solving the delicate issue of migration into the EU from poorer countries outside the union. Contrasting earlier EU policies, the experience with Cape Verde had shown that "country specific approaches should be developed," the Ministers found.
The mobility partnerships are designed for joint responsible management of migratory flows between EU, its partners as well as the migrants. According to the EU's Development Commissioner, Louis Michel, Europe is now stepping up is dialogue and our cooperation in the field of migration. "I am thinking in particular of legal migration, strengthening the link between migration and development and the fight against illegal immigration," he said after the Cape Verde partnership was signed.
Cape Verde, as the only sub-Saharan country, already had a special partnership with the EU, comparable to North African countries in the EU-Mediterranean union. The archipelago has the strongest economy in West Africa and its relatively low and well-off population institutes a low risk for the EU, regarding mass migration.
Senegal, on the other hand, will be the first low-income country with a large and poor population to enter special mobility ties with the EU. It is believed that the EU's choice of Senegal comes after Spain already has entered into special ties with the West African country regarding migration. The Spanish government last year opened up for a legal but small-scale migration of Senegalese citizens to work in Spain.
Under last year's Spain-Senegal agreement, some 2,700 Senegalese were to be given work permits in Spain this year. Out of this, 2,000 youths were to undergo Spanish-funded training in Senegal before they get employed by Spanish fishing boats. The rest of the youths were to be fitted in agricultural farming.
Also the Senegal-EU mobility agreement, if reached, would probably provide for a defined number of Senegalese citizens being given legal emigration possibilities to Europe, while illegal migrant would be easier to repatriate in Senegal.
The EU partnership with Cape Verde provided for the setting up in Praia of a joint centre which is to accept applications for short-stay visas, promote improvements in the arrangements for the movement of people and legal migration, and build Cape Verde's capacity to manage migration, notably by developing a centre designed to implement measures for the information, integration and protection of migrants and returnees.
For the EU, the main aim of its new migration cooperation with countries outside of the union is to limit the flow of illegal immigration by providing alternatives and securing the possibilities of return of illegal migrants. No time limit was set to negotiate a deal with Senegal.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.