‘Europe needs a more positive approach to migration’. That was the message to representatives of 140 counties taking part in the 10th Global Forum on Migration and Development which is being held in Berlin.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said regulations should be linked to a host country’s needs.
“For a successful migration policy we don’t just need bans but also rules which allow us to use immigration as an opportunity. Not just for ethical reasons but quite simply also out of economic self-interest.”
Mentioning Canada as a possible example, Gabriel told conference participants that Germany needs “modern and attractive” immigration regulations which could be linked to the country’s demand.
Figures in February 2017 showed that Germany had taken in more than a million migrants in the previous 18 months, often fleeing war and turmoil in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
But on the front line of the migration issue, Italy has appealed to its EU partners for help in taking in African migrants. It has even threatened to stop boats from other countries from bringing more into its ports.
More than 73,000 people have landed this year and Rome says the situation has become unsustainable.
Meanwhile off the Libyan coast near Tripoli the human cost of the migration problem facing the EU was all too real. Rescue workers recovered the bodies of five migrants who had drowned in the the Mediterranean Sea while trying to reach Europe. The total number of migrants reaching Europe by sea so far this year is less than half that counted in the same period of 2016, due to a deal between the EU and Turkey which blocked a once-busy route to Greece, but the number of migrants going to Italy has risen.