The European Commission last week approved three new programs totaling €90.5 million to be implemented in Morocco, Tunisia and Libya. The new programs that are run under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa will provide support to authorities of the three North African countries with the aim to improve their border protection capabilities and enhance protection and emergency assistance to refugees and migrants.
The EU wants to use the funding to support efforts of national institutions in Morocco and Tunisia to save lives at sea, fight smuggling in the region and improve maritime border management. These three aims will be targeted by the program on border management for the Maghreb region worth €55 million and implemented by the Italian Ministry of Interior together with the International Center for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), focusing on maintaining equipment and capacity building.
The EU will provide an additional €6.5 million to reinforce its assistance to vulnerable migrants, supporting the 2014 Moroccan National Strategy on migration. The strategy facilitates access to basic services for vulnerable migrants and improves the capacity of local associations and organizations to deliver those services in an efficient manner. Brussels also seeks to reinforce support to the protection of refugees and migrants in Libya at disembarkation points in detention centers, urban settings and remote southern desert areas.
The programs will be managed jointly with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The organizations will additionally target initiatives to develop economic opportunities for migrants in the domestic labor market. “Today’s new programs will step up our work to managing migration flows in a humane and sustainable way, by saving and protecting lives of refugees and migrants and providing them with assistance and by fighting against traffickers and smugglers,” said High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini and added that “it is our integrated approach that combines our action at sea, our work together with partner countries along the migratory routes, including inside Libya, and in the Sahel.”