Increasing employment opportunities, strengthening local communities, improving governance, enhancing conflict prevention and providing protection and assistance to vulnerable migrant groups are some of the EU Trust Fund's key focus areas. Priority will be given to projects that strengthen the capacity of African countries to deal with migration, and to emergency projects in Libya and other countries in North Africa.
'It is important that countries in Europe work with countries of origin and transit to address the challenges associated with migration and refugee movements. We must also fight organised crime and strengthen efforts to combat people smuggling and reduce the number of lives lost on the journey across the Sahara and the Mediterranean,' Mr Brende said.
So far this year, approximately 120.000 people have come to Europe by boat from Africa. The largest migrant groups that have crossed the Mediterranean to Italy come from Nigeria, Bangladesh, Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire.
'In addition to a large number of economic migrants, there are currently a record number of people fleeing from war and conflict in different parts of the world. Norway is providing a substantial amount of humanitarian support to alleviate many of these refugee crises,' Mr Brende said.
The EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa was established at the 2015 Valletta Summit on Migration, which brought together leaders from European and African countries. Norway contributed NOK 30 million in funding to the EU Trust Fund in 2016, and is now providing a further NOK 50 million, of which NOK 20 million will go to projects in North Africa. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) are key partners in this context.