In October alone, 218,000 refugees made the Mediterranean crossing to Europe, which represents an increase of 26 percent as compared to September. According to the president, it is clear that the migration crisis is deepening and becoming an growing problem to the world. All efforts so far to manage the flows of illegal migration have been too sluggish, while decisions were implemented too slowly.
The EU external border has not been protected appropriately, the registration of asylum seekers is flawed – only one out of six registration centres for refugees is actually operational in Italy and only one out of five will soon become operational in Greece. In addition, the return of economic migrants has not been sufficiently implemented yet; only 40 percent of illegal migrants leave the EU and return to their countries of origin. Insufficient efforts have been made to work together with third countries from which the biggest flows of illegal migrants come to Europe.
Grybauskaitė stressed that the problem could not be solved only by sharing migrants among the states. Chaos will not end until a clear system for refugee reception and registration, as well as an effective control of EU external borders are in place. Armed conflicts prompting waves of illegal migration are a source of major concern for the whole international community and must be resolved at global level.
The African population makes up a high proportion of illegal migrants; therefore, EU leaders in Valetta will discuss this problem with 35 of their African counterparts. A joint EU-Africa declaration and a joint action plan to stop the flows of illegal migration will be adopted. An EU emergency trust fund for Africa will be set up.
According to the president, EU-Africa cooperation is very important since instability, wars and conflicts on this continent pose a threat to the security of the whole of Europe. More than 13 million Africans are refugees, asylum seekers or internally displaced persons.