Europe is finally proposing to deal with resettlement issues for irregular migrants; with adequate search-and-rescue arrangements; and with the containment of smuggler gangs. One hopes that European political actors will place solidarity on their political agenda and embrace a fairer allocation system. Other priorities need to be kept in mind. Some migrants are asylum seekers. A resolution of the problem that caused them to leave home frequently requires military action by the international community that most often is outside the EU’s remit. Irregular migrants are also people who aspire to improve their economic situation as they have limited to zero opportunities back home. Past development aid failed to improve sufficiently the economic conditions in sub-Saharan Africa. We need to understand why this has happened and to convert that understanding into an action programme committed to generate economic growth and jobs. We urgently need a European policy on legal migration. For while the inflows of irregular migrants cause concern, some member states actually need migrants to replenish their labour force. It’s a truism that problems caused by irregular mass migration can only be solved conclusively by improvements that give grounds for hope, in the countries from where migrants originate.

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