EU Commissioner for Internal Affairs, Ylva Johansson, announced at a press conference that the plan consists of 4 pillars: combating human trafficking, border management, repatriation to the country of origin and finding legal ways to access the European labor market.
The plan, which includes partnering with countries such as Morocco, Senegal, Mauritania and Gambia, aims to support EU member states to strengthen migration management, prevent irregular exits and save lives along this route.
The plan, which also pledges to support North African and Sahel countries for return, readmission and reintegration, aims to encourage legal migration through labor migration and talent partnerships.
The plan includes support for search and rescue operations.
According to the data shared by Johansson, while the number of migrants going to the Canary Islands from the Atlantic route was less than 3,000 in 2019, it reached 24,000 in 2020, an 800 percent increase, and remained the same throughout 2021. In 2022, as a result of the partnership established with Spain and Morocco, this number decreased by 50 percent.
Plan to prevent misuse of commercial transport
The EU Commission has also announced a measure regarding the use of commercial means of transport to facilitate irregular migration to the EU.
In the written statement, it was pointed out that criminal networks take advantage of commercial flights between third countries, using visa-free policy regimes or labor migration opportunities to bring migrants to countries close to or at the EU border.
In order to prevent this, the EU Commission decided to support the member states operationally in the fields of legislation, judiciary and diplomacy.
An important part of the plan is strengthening relations with transport operators and authorities in third countries, especially in the aviation sector.
The new action plans will be discussed at the meeting of the interior ministers of EU countries on 8-9 June.
The EU had previously reported that 330,000 irregular entries were registered in 2022, an increase of 64 percent from the previous year, the highest figure since the crisis in 2016.