In a desperate bid to control the current migrant crisis in Europe, The European Union is offering money and visas to African countries which agree to take back their illegal immigrants.
Brussels have approved to fund a package of support that encourages the “return and sustainable reintegration of irregular migrants”.
Germany’s open border policy has been said to fuel the influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees arriving on the continent this year, and the numbers are expected to increase over the next two years.
Now a plan has been drawn up to encourage African countries to take back their citizens who have reached the EU illegally, the Telegraph reported.
Those returned would have to be treated with ‘human dignity’ and not sent back to a country where they face persecution.
As part of the deal, the EU would set up a trust fund worth £1.3billion for countries like Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda and Kenya.
The draft plan has circulated ahead of a summit on migration this week in Valletta, Malta.
It calls for ‘strengthening cooperation with key countries of origin and transit in order to facilitate the return and sustainable reintegration of irregular migrants’.
It stresses the ‘obligation of each state under international law to readmit its own nationals in full respect of human dignity’ as well as the ‘principle of non‐refoulement’ which prevents the persecuted behind handed over to their persecutor.
As part of the plan, the packages for ‘safe return and reintegration’ will be matched by the promise of ‘possible visa facilitation’ for well-qualified Africans to work in the EU.
African college qualifications for “one or more professions” could be recognised by EU countries.
Britain is not part of the Schengen common migration zone in the EU, which means that it would not have to sign up to the visa deal.
But the plan to try to persuade African countries to take back their citizens demonstrates the increasing desperation of Brussels to find a long-term solution to the crisis.
Ukip leader Nigel Farage said on Twitter: ‘The EU’s way to stop illegal mass migration from Africa is to make it legal. This is sheer madness.’
Last week the EU warned that three million migrants are expected to arrive in Europe by the end of 2017.
In a bombshell report, EU economists predicted the crisis would get even worse with a 50 per cent rise in the numbers pouring in next year.
The European Commission claimed the ‘unprecedented influx’ of migrants could help boost the economy, but critics warned they needed to get a grip of the chaos.
‘Overall, an additional three million persons is assumed to arrive in the EU over the forecast period,’ the European Commission’s economic forecast for 2015-2017 said.
It predicted there would be no let-up in arrivals until the end of next year, with one million in total during 2015, soaring to 1.5 million in 2016 and then decreasing to half a million in 2017.
The Commission claimed this would represent a 0.4 per cent EU population increase once unsuccessful asylum applications were taken into account.
The warning came as the Government minister in charge of Britain’s international response said the migration crisis engulfing Europe is likely to last for 20 years.
International Development Secretary Justine Greening said the humanitarian crisis in Syria was so severe that it was unlikely many refugees would return home within two decades.
She also condemned Russia’s air strikes in the warzone, claiming the controversial bombardment had worsened the crisis by forcing even more Syrians to flee in search of sanctuary.
And she blasted Western countries for failing to ‘step up to the plate’ and properly fund the aid mission to the region – or face more displaced people trying to make the treacherous trip to Europe.