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Europeans Pledge Help for Poor African Migrants


EU officials insisted Thursday that there is much Europe can do to help desperate Africans who undertake perilous journeys to flee poverty at home to look for jobs in the developed world. For VOA, Sabina Castelfranco reports from Tripoli.

EU Justice and Security Commissioner Franco Frattini said Thursday security could no longer be considered the first priority when dealing with illegal immigration.

He said a better solution to curbing illegal immigration is to offer citizens of African countries jobs and training.

"To give hope we have to improve our capacity to offer alternatives and alternatives can be found on offering plans for legal jobs because desperate people come to Europe to get a job," Frattini said.

He said the developed world should not forget that in many cases these migrants are victims of trafficking and exploitation by criminal organizations.

EU Development Commissioner Louis Michel proposed the establishment of migration agencies in African nations to assist people to leave their countries legally.

Michel said these agencies, which would be set up in countries of origin would offer training and prepare for integration for those who wished to migrate. They would also extend small loans to help would-be migrants set up small businesses.

Mali and Senegal have already said they are interested in establishing such agencies.

Commissioner Frattini said these agencies would also be important for security. Countries would become responsible for the return home of their citizens when their seasonal jobs abroad have terminated.

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