The European Union Ambassador to The Gambia has said that the EU is currently in negotiation with Gambian authorities to return migrants from its 28-member states who are illegally staying there.
He added that an unspecified number of Gambians are staying in EU illegally and there has been a court order for them to be deported.
“One of the basic principles in EU countries is the respect for rule of law. Those migrants are in a positions whereby they exhaust all the legal ways of obtaining asylum to remain in the country, those are migrants to be returned,” said Lajos at a breakfast meeting with journalists yesterday.
He said people cannot stay in EU illegally as “no country will allow illegal migrants in their country.”
About 3, 484 young Gambians who are stuck in Libya and elsewhere in Africa have been returned by International Organisation for Migration to the country.
Lajos said they are also careful not to overwhelm the country with returnees. The policy document the two parties are discussing is proposing returning 50 migrants a month.
“Those who already exhausted all the legal possibility to stay in the EU, there is a court decision that they have got to leave the EU…,” said Lajos.
“We are in negotiation with the government on how to tackle this because we also want to make sure that there is no huge number of migrants returned to The Gambia when the Gambian circumstances are not ready to absorb and reintegrate them.”
The country has received several supports in form of project from particularly China and EU in billions of dalasi worth of support since 2017.
“We are going to launch a second package of efforts in terms of addressing the root causes of migration by a theme: ‘build a future, make it in Gambia’. That would entail roughly €23 million from the Trust Fund to be implemented in different projects in the country,” said Lajos.