“We’ve worked a lot on the battle against trafficking, now we can work together to ensure that no people are dying on the road to Libya and Algeria,” he told the news agency.
Under the agreement, the EU will provide funds to Mali to help it create more jobs and improve border management, including by introducing biometric passports and advancing security in the northern part of the country, which borders Algeria.
In return, Mali promised to repatriate its citizens who have reached Europe but were deemed ineligible for asylum there, and also aid the EU in the fight against people smugglers.
The deal comes as the EU looks to collaborate on migration with the countries from which most asylum seekers originate. Some 1.4 million people have arrived in the EU since last year, many of them taking a dangerous route across the Mediterranean Sea. According to the latest data from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), this year has seen an estimated 4,733 casualties among migrants trying to reach Europe via the sea, which is 1,148 more recorded deaths than at the same point in 2015.