Frontex to boost border control efforts in Niger, Algeria and Libya

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EU border agency Frontex is to step up its role in Niger, where a liaison officer will cooperate with EU military and security deployments to try to boost control over the borders between Niger, Algeria and Libya.

The details are contained in an action file (pdf) produced as part of the MOCADEM (Mécanisme opérationnel de coordination des actions pour la dimension externe des migrations) structure within the Council, which outlines aims to strengthen Frontex’s action in the state via its liaison officer and by finalising working arrangements with the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions EUCAP Sahel Niger and EUBAM Libya.

These agreements will define Frontex’s role in the facilitation of border control activity in the south of Libya (alongside Italy and the International Organization for Migration, IOM), as well as in intensifying patrols of the borders with Algeria and Libya. The finalisation of the working agreements will be worked out by Frontex, the European External Action Service, and the European Commission.

Further consolidation of an information exchange framework among the EU’s immigration liaison officers network and with the Frontex liaison officer is also envisaged. Regular information exchange consultations will be held between member state officers, Europol’s European Migrant Smuggling Centre and the Frontex liaison officer, on actions concerning border management and combatting migrant smuggling.

The action file outlines the objective to support Niger to establish and implement a migration policy which encompasses the reception of internally displaced people, as well as asylum seekers and refugees from Burkina Faso, Mali and Nigeria, and people evacuated from Libya. The policy should ensure early access to asylum procedures, and permanently strengthen border management capacities, combat smuggling networks, and prepare for “tripartite cooperation with the Libyan and Algerian authorities”.

Other actions listed include political and technical outreach, which covers a meeting by European Commissioner for Migration and Home Affiairs, Ylva Johansson, in mid-February; and bilateral meetings “in the margins” at February's summit of the EU and the African Union (AU). A trilateral task force between the AU, EU and UN on the situation of refugees and migrants in Libya is also planned through meetings between senior officials. 

The EU's Neighbourhood, Cooperation and International Development Instrument (NDICI) will provide €56million to UNHCR Emergency Transit Mechanism centres in Niger and Rwanda. A variety of EU member states have made resettlement offers, including 200 offers from France for resettlement from Niger in 2022 and 70 from Italy. Socio-economic support measures to create employment in the Maradi, Niamey, Agadez and Zinder regions is planned through the EU budget and national funding.

A report on progress achieved on the document’s objectives is due at the end of March.

MOCADEM is built upon the Council Implementing Decision (EU) n° 2018/1993 which establishes the Integrated Political Crisis Response Arrangement (IPCR). MOCADEM is supposed to ensure the coordination and monitoring of the implementation of the operational nature of the EU's external migration policy, "using legal crisis frameworks in non-crisis contexts."

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