The EU-Hornof Africa Migration Route Initiative (Khartoum Process) will be launched at a ministerial conference in Rome on 28 November. It will be co-chaired by Ministers Paolo Gentiloni and Angelino Alfano, accompanied by deputy ministers Pistelli and Mazione.
Migration flows and regional stabilisation
The purpose of the initiative is to promote concrete projects for the more effective management of migration flows in the countries of the Horn of Africa and the main Mediterranean countries of transit (Libya, Egypt and Tunisia). In an area where recurring tensions have also led to armed conflict, the Khartoum Process (KP) is poised to assist regional stabilisation efforts.
Deputy Minister Pistelli’s mission in early July to the Horn of Africa countries of Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Sudan and Ethiopia played a decisive role.
38 participating countries
In addition to the 28 EU Member States, other countries participating in the process include Libya, Egypt Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya and Tunisia.
400% increase in arrivals compared with 2013
Italy has been confronting with substantial migration flows for some time now (161,000 arrivals from the southern Mediterranean shores in 2014, an increase of 400% compared with 2013); the Mare Nostrum operation made it possible to save more than 100,000 lives at sea. Managing these flows cannot be accomplished, however, solely through humanitarian operations such as Mare Nostrum or border control missions such as the Triton recently approved by the European Frontex agency.
Strengthening cooperation with countries of origin and transit
The Farnesina therefore considers it is essential to strengthen cooperation with the countries of origin and transit, particularly around Libya, given that the current situation precludes effective collaboration with Tripoli, and that the majority of migrants and asylum seekers are arriving from the Horn of Africa. The EU has not yet had a forum for dialogue with the countries of the region, while it has had one with the countries of Western Africa (Rabat Process).
Struggle against smuggling and trafficking
Initially, the Khartoum Process will direct attention to the especially urgent theme of migrant smuggling and trafficking. It could subsequently be expanded to other themes, in keeping with the EU’s priorities (legal migration, illegal migration, migration-development-international protection), and all in a context of great concreteness aimed at activating specific cooperation projects funded by the EU and involving the International Migration Organization (IMO) and the UNHCR, which are already active in the region. These include training programmes for border guards and the administration of camps for migrants and information on the risks of illegal migration.
Active participation of European and African nations
The initiative has been well received by European countries, especially those most closely affected by migration. Germany has expressed its great interest in the KP’s aims and is considering possible bilateral migration-related initiatives with the countries concerned. African nations have also responded with enthusiasm to the initiative.