Labour MEP addresses migration of African youth to Europe: ‘Give them a future in their own country’
Malta's News Portal, Monday, July 22, 2013
Labour MEP Marlene Mizzi.
MEP Marlene Mizzi has represented the European Parliament in joint discussions with members of Parliament of West African countries during the 10th Regional Meeting of the ACP-EU Joint Parliament Assembly.
Mizzi formed part of the S&D delegations. The meetings took place in Abuja, Nigeria, at the House of Representatives.
Mizzi also participated in meetings at the EU Commission together with a number of Ambassadors from EU countries accredited to Nigeria.
Mizzi's interventions focused on the need for African countries to fight youth unemployment and poverty. Given that the majority of population in most West African nations is under 35 years of age, addressing youth problems was vital in the economic and social development of these countries.
She pointed out three important issues which should be addressed in this regard: the importance of fighting widespread illiteracy; the importance of having an education system geared towards producing the right qualifications, skills and training to match the current and future demands of the industry and the job market; to provide opportunities to encourage self- employment and entrepreneurship through education and training, and particularly by providing access to finance.
Mizzi spoke about the problem of exodus of young people from Africa to Europe in search of a better future. She emphasized the importance of creating a better future for these young people.
"Give them a future in their own country so they will not find the need to flee to Europe in search of a decent future,'' she said. "This would mean they will not have to endure the dangers and perils which the journey to a European port obviously involves, as well as mitigate - and hopefully solve - the problem of illegal immigration."
Mizzi mentioned the millions of euros sent by the EU to African countries, through the Economic Development Fund, but questioned as to how these funds are being utilized. She asked whether these funds were making a real difference to the citizens.
Other topics discussed in different workshops were, the environment, climate change, empowerment of women, fight against terrorism and piracy and demographic policies. The next ACP-EU Assembly will be in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where Mizzi has been appointed as rapporteur and spokesperson for the S&D group.