The European Union’s chief envoy to The Gambia, Lattila Lajos has praised the administration of President Adama Barrow for addressing the country’s migration crisis unlike the previous government of Yahya Jammeh, which had ignored the problem.
Lajos told independent journalist Sanna Camara that the Barrow government took a different approach to illegal migration acknowledging the challenges the country is facing and seeking to protect Gambians no matter where they are.
“They realized that the weight of the problem of migration,” said Lajos. “And to my understanding, the Barrow government were keen to protect Gambians wherever they are and are aware of the challenges they are facing in the country.”
Barrow’s government was confronted with the migration problem at its peak but since coming to power, it has helped repatriate at least 1,200 migrants, mostly stranded in the troubled Northern African nation of Libya and Niger.
The EU is in talks with Gambian authorities about the repatriation of Gambians illegally dwelling in Europe. The migration crisis is forcing some EU nations to put in places restrictive border controls despite being part of the Schengen Agreement known as the EU passport-free zone.
Denmark in May disregarded a European Union directive to lift temporary border restrictions within six months unless the bloc “miraculously” secured its external frontiers against undocumented migrants.
The EU has injected more than $24 million into The Gambia’s economy, most of it in grants to help small businesses grow and create jobs. Fewer Gambians are departing the country to perilously cross into Europe but fears are rife the slowly economic u-turn could renew the exodus.