Netherlands largest contributor to Europe's Africa fund

Asylum seekers crossing the Mediterranean sea (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Vito Manzari)Asylum seekers crossing the Mediterranean sea (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Vito Manzari)

The European leaders currently attending the refugee talks in Malta, promised their African counterparts a 1.8 billion euro fund aimed at tackling the key causes of mass-migration to Europe. The Netherlands contributed 15 million euros to the fund, the highest contribution so far.

The 1.8 billion euros comes from the European Union's budget and individual countries can also contribute to the fund. So far 25 EU countries and Switzerland and Norway have pledged contributions to the fund, amounting to 78 million euros, the Telegraaf reports.

"For the Africa Trust Fund and our response to be credible, I want to see more member states contributing and matching the 1.8 billion euros the EU has put forward", European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said, according to France 24.

"We must regulate the flow of migrants and ultimately curb it," Rutte said, calling on a joint approach between Europa and African nations. He wants the 1.8-billion euro commitment to go towards education and employment in Africa to improve the future outlook for younger people there.

However, Africa also needs to commit to being a partner with Europe, Rutte added. "African countries have the obligation to take back their own citizens when they are not entitled to a residence permit in Europe," he said. The Dutch prime minister complained that African nations do not sufficiently do this now, despite signing an accord with Europe in 2000 to do just that.

Rutte added that the Netherlands will continue to provide "sober and just" temporary shelter for asylum seekers, and that the rest of Europe needs to take part in the "fair and controlled distribution of refugees."

The BBC reported Senegal President Macky Sall saying that he wanted to see the fund "more generally financed". The fund does not contain enough money to aid all of Africa, he feels. Mahamadou Issoufou, President of Niger, agreed with Sall. He also called for fair trade and better ethics and monitoring in that regard, Reuters reports.