News / Europe

    France's Hollande: Eritrea 'Becoming Empty' as Residents Leave

    French President Francois Hollande (r) talks to President of the European Council Donald Tusk at an informal summit on migration in Valletta, Malta, Nov. 11, 2015.
    French President Francois Hollande (r) talks to President of the European Council Donald Tusk at an informal summit on migration in Valletta, Malta, Nov. 11, 2015.
    VOA News

    French President Francois Hollande says Africa needs more international development aid in order to curb the flow of migrants from African countries.

    Speaking at a meeting of more than 60 leaders from both Africa and the European Union, Hollande said that unless the EU delivers in terms of aid, the migration crisis that has sent hundreds of thousands of people fleeing to Europe this year will continue.

    Hollande noted that a lot of the migrants are from Eritrea and Sudan. He said that in the case of Eritrea "maximum pressure" has to be applied to the country's leaders to mend a serious situation. "Nobody is talking about it.  It is a country that is becoming empty of its own population with unscrupulous leaders who let their people go."

    The EU summit Wednesday and Thursday in Valletta, Malta, is focusing on addressing the reasons why people are leaving their home countries, better organizing legal migration channels, boosting protections for migrants, battling smugglers and improving cooperation with African nations on returning people who do not qualify for asylum.

    Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel called for firm commitments beyond political declarations.

    "We believe we must both combat illegal immigration, combat traffickers, we believe we must also progress in the field of return and readmission policies. In exchange, the European countries must be mobilized for more economic development support, humanitarian support, and also more support to allow for, as an example, exchanges of students to enable the exchange of researchers, which is also important for the future," said Michel.

    Meanwhile, Sweden says it will introduce temporary border controls to stem the flow of migrants.

    Swedish Interior Minister Anders Ygeman said the border controls will begin on Thursday.

    Sweden is struggling to absorb tens of thousands of refugees.

    President of the European Parliament Martin Schultz, second from right, arrives at the Maltese parliament to delivers a speech on the occasion of a migration summit in Valletta, Malta, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015.
    President of the European Parliament Martin Schultz, second from right, arrives at the Maltese parliament to delivers a speech on the occasion of a migration summit in Valletta, Malta, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015.

    EU member Slovenia began building a barbed wire fence on its border with Croatia Wednesday, which prompted a meeting of negotiators from both countries, since, according to Croatians, the fence passes through its territory.  Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar, however, said the country is not closing its borders and that what he called "obstacles" were being put in place in order to direct migrants toward border crossings.

    As part of the effort, Europe is offering $1.8 billion in new aid to African countries.  But critics are questioning Europe's response, saying the EU is trying to push people back to areas where there are serious questions about human rights and a lack of economic opportunities.

    About 800,000 people have crossed into Europe by sea this year, nearly four times the number in 2014, according to the International Organization for Migration.  Italy and Greece are the most popular landing points.  More people have landed in Italy from Eritrea, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan than anywhere else, making up half of the 140,000 migrants who have arrived there this year.

    More than 3,400 people have died making dangerous sea crossings to Europe this year.  At least 14 people drowned Wednesday after a boat sank on a trip from northern Turkey to Greece.  

    The EU's Malta-based European Asylum Support Office released data showing a backlog of 800,000 applications for international protection through September.

    It also said almost one in three migrants has been waiting at least three months for applications to be processed, and said 200,000 applicants have been waiting six months or longer.


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    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
    by: olad Guled from: United Kingdom
    November 15, 2015 2:44 PM
    Aid has exacerbated African migrants problem by creating dependency and corruption for a few high official to enrich themselves. If Europe really wants to stem out the flow of migrants from Africa, it has to support the effort of creating businesses and social enterprises in Africa that would help in providing job and economic opportunity for primary producers. No aid any more that is the reason why Africa remain poor, underdeveloped and unfair continent. No one has ever become middle class through aid. The European benefit system should not be introduced in Africa.

    Tony Elumelu, an African billionaire has initiated Tony Elumelu foundation in which he wants to supported 1000 social entrepreneurs each year in Africa for the next 10 years. He has earmarked $ 100 million as seed money. Why the European leaders don't directly give the money to the social enterprisers.

    by: Mati
    November 13, 2015 2:07 PM
    Coloniztion? Leave alone to think, never dream about it. Never will happen. Solution? Stop supporting dictators and interfering in African politics. Eritrea is a country created by Italians. Part if the so called colonization process. It is now a country. Unity with Ethiopia will not happen now. May be in the far future. History shows us that Eritrea never existed before Ethiopian. They existed together as one country long before. That is fact. The ywo countries just need to make peace and live with mitual respect.

    by: Mati
    November 13, 2015 1:55 PM

    by: Zorba from: USA
    November 13, 2015 5:29 AM
    Silu Semta,
    keep your ignorance for your self. Eritrea is the product of its history. It is a nation that was formed before Ethiopia and is rich in agricultural products, fishery, and mineral resource. It can feed itself and give substantial emergency aid to other Africa states if it is left alone to do its homework. It does not need anything form the external world excerpt to stop their interference. The West are working hard to strangulate Eritrea and put it under their control again as they know exactly what it posses and they don't want it to be a model for other African states. They are pulling systematical Eritrean youth to migrate as the US ambassador to Eritrea and President Obama have said it openly.
    Silu Semta, take history lesson and follow current world politics.

    by: Silu Semta from: USA
    November 12, 2015 9:25 PM
    Let us get real and point the obvious fact that Eritrea should not have been an independent country to begin with. What you see today with all these people desperately leaving Eritrea is a testimony to the irrelevance of the so called "Eritrean independence" from Ethiopia. Eritrea can not survive without Ethiopia the whole world knows it. The solution is simple, reunification with Ethiopia without any preconditions. Emperor Haile Selassie has done it before and a new generation of Ethiopian leaders will do it again.

    by: tamrat molla from: ethiopia
    November 12, 2015 6:56 AM
    So sad someone talk about colonializing Africa again. What Africans need is tools and training to prosper. Africa is rich and its people smart and hard worker. It is suffering just because it is not fully recovering from the colonial trauma.

    by: Gene from: Texas USA
    November 12, 2015 6:00 AM
    I agree with the comments that the solution to solving the problems of all these "failed states or countries" in Africa might be to recolonize them, organize the government and get the economy going again. Otherwise you have starving people, anarchy, and refugees fleeing the country. First things first is to save the people. We can worry about what form of government they have later. Once the country is back on its feet, then an election can be held and foreign forces withdrawn.

    An example of this is Italy which has offered to land its army in Libya to stabilize the political situation. The current legal government in eastern Libya has so far resisted the suggestion.

    by: anonymous
    November 11, 2015 10:06 PM
    Smoke and Mirrors strategy won't correct the situation in Africa.
    Failures of various Governments are indicators, including trade and arms deals? over many years, are pointers, apart form the loss of human lives.

    by: Mek1
    November 11, 2015 8:55 PM
    Antonia the crises all over the world is your country's creation of course you do not see the dirty hands because it is invisible to the the naive people like you, but colonizing Africa again try it and you will be disappointed the old days are gone forever.

    by: antonia willis from: United Kingdom
    November 11, 2015 6:51 PM
    How about the honest approach which almost everyone I know in the UK is voicing in private, but never in public: Africa is a basket case. Aid doesn't work, we've tried it to the zilliionth dollar; it merely enriches Africa's corrupt dictator class. We have only 2 options: either recolonise, in some disguised fashion such as training & safe zones, or we build proper border fences in Europe.
    Comments page of 2

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