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Mediterranean Sea: Refugees

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 10164, tabled on 14 September 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to address the root causes of the migrant situation in the Mediterranean.

Answered on

22 September 2015

The government believes that the root causes of migration must be addressed, and not just the symptoms. A comprehensive solution is needed that will reduce the pull and push factors causing people to leave their countries of origin. We must also address the transit routes being used, as well as disrupting the criminal elements who are smuggling and trafficking humans. We are working closely with EU and international partners to find such a solution.

Because it is the gateway to western Mediterranean irregular migration, the government is also working with other countries to bring about a functioning government in Libya.

The government has provided substantial development and humanitarian assistance to help refugees from the civil war in Syria. The Unted Kingdom has now committed more than £1 billion of aid to help people displaced by the conflict there, both within Syria and in neighbouring countries, and to encourage stability. This makes the UK the EU’s largest donor, and second largest donor (after the USA) overall.

United Kingdom support has helped to provide more than 20 million food rations, 2.5 million medical consultations, and given 1.6 million people access to clean water . The UK is providing education to a quarter of a million children in the area.

Additionally, the Prime Minister announced on 7 September that the UK will resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees from the region over the course of this parliament.

An EU/Africa Summit in Valletta in November offers the opportunity to develop a robust and comprehensive set of proposals to deal with the upstream cause of irregular migration. We are fully engaged in the preparations.

The Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron), The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), The Secretary of State for International Development, my right hon. Friend the member for Putney (Ms Greening) and I have all discussed preparations for Valetta with other European governments and the European Commission.