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Migration from Africa to Europe likely to rise in spring: EU sources

BERLIN (Reuters) - The European Union is increasing aid to train the Libyan coast guard and construct better camps in Africa, among other measures, as it prepares for more migrants from Africa with the approach of spring, EU sources said.

But continuing chaos in Libya following the 2011 overthrow of veteran ruler Muammar Gaddafi, and the inability of the new U.N.-backed government in Tripoli to exercise control over its territory still pose big challenges, the sources said.

"We're doing what is really necessary ... and we're doing that effectively. Are we making an important contribution to improving the situation? Yes," one of the sources told reporters. "Will that solve all the problems? No."

EU leaders are expected to release a joint communique at the end of a meeting in Malta this week that will focus on migration across the central Mediterranean and the situation in Libya, the sources said.

The main focus will be on the African migration issue. A record 181,000 people made the journey from Libya to Europe last year, including 25,000 unaccompanied minors, the sources said. More than 5,000 are believed to have died attempting the crossing.

Migration flows were expected to increase again once the weather warms.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal)

 

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