Channels should be created through which Africans should be allowed to come to Europe legally as a way of alleviating the illegal population transfer, German chancellor Angela Merkel has said.
Speaking at an EU-Africa summit in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, Merkel said that creating a legal avenue for Africans to come to Europe would help end their smuggling across the Mediterranean Sea.
On the issue of illegal immigration, Merkel said this was playing “a role all over the African continent now because there are reports that young African men are being sold like slaves in Libya.”
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Speaking on the sidelines of the summit, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel—from the Social Democratic Party (SPD), said that “Europe could offer several hundred thousand places each year as long as those people returned voluntarily after three or four years.”
But Guenter Nooke, Merkel’s Africa envoy from her Christian Democratic s Party (CDU), was, according to the media, more sceptical: “No interior minister will let hundreds of thousands in if he is not sure that most of them will return,” he said.
Merkel is currently trying to restore the coalition she had with the SPD before the last election in that country. Her moves follow the breakdown in negotiations with the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the crypto-communist Green Party, which left her without a majority in the German parliament.