France has begun a new initiative to bring in 3,000 migrants directly from Africa, as 19 Sundanese migrants arrived on Monday who will be temporarily housed in a monastery in Alsace.
On Tuesday 25 migrants from Niger arrived in the country, followed by another group of African migrants on Wednesday. The flights will continue over the next two years, primarily from Chad and Niger, until the target of 3,000 is reached Die Welt reports.
The new migrant initiative was negotiated by French President Emmanuel Macron earlier this year in an effort to prevent mass migration across the Mediterranean to Europe.
President Macron has been joined by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has enacted a similar programme for Germany, along with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
Italy has seen by far the largest number of migrants arrive through the Mediterranean route over the last two years.
The migrants were previously aided by “rescue” ships operated by pro-migration NGOs off the Libyan coast, until the Italian government introduced a stricter code of conduct and opened investigations into some which were suspected of cooperation with people smugglers.
This led to the confiscation of one vessel and led others to abandon their missions.
Lone NGO Ship Laments Lack of Migrant Boats off Coast of Libya
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 14, 2017
The Libyan coastguard, which has received funding from the European Union, confronted some of the pro-migration vessels at sea, which also contributed to their gradual withdrawn from the so-called search-and-rescue (SAR) zone.
Spain, meanwhile, has seen a rise in the number of illegal migrants arriving both on its shores and via its North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla — a consequence of the Italians and Libyans being able to largely close the central Mediterranean route.
Under the new initiative, migrants are chosen for settlement in Europe from refugee camps in Chad and Niger for by officials working for the United Nations.