PARIS Europes big four continental powers and three African states agreed a plan on Monday to tackle illegal human trafficking and support nations struggling to contain the flow of people across the desert and Mediterranean sea.
The 28-nation European Union has long struggled to reach a coherent answer to the influx of migrants fleeing war, poverty and political upheaval in the Middle East and Africa, and the crisis is testing cooperation between member states.
After hosting the leaders of Germany, Italy, Spain, Chad, Niger and Libya, French President Emmanuel Macron said it was time for greater coordination.
We must all act together from the source countries to Europe and passing by the transit countries, especially Libya to be efficient, he told reporters. Its a challenge as much for the EU as for the African Union.
Leaders at the Paris summit will focus on the central Mediterranean route [Thibault Camus/Reuters]
While the meeting was sparse on concrete details, the leaders agreed on the principle of setting up a mechanism to identify legitimate migrants who are fleeing war and persecution, and to use the United Nations to register them in Niger and Chad so as to prevent them being exploited by traffickers.