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"A new way" to try and tackle the migrant crisis?

UNITED NATIONS -- European Union (EU) and African leaders are meeting in Malta this week with an eye to stemming the flow of refugees and migrants into Europe, and to establishing an emergency trust fund of $1.9 billion to "foster stability and to contribute to better migration management."

Sparking some controversy before the Summit begins, the leaked Valletta Summit Action Plan, viewed by CBS News, has five priorities, among them the "timely manner to readmission applications" and the "reintegration of returnees into their communities."

The Summit of 28 EU and 54 African nations is aimed at spurring cooperation against human trafficking and smuggling, and to aid legal migration to Europe along with job creation. But it is also aimed at slowing the migrant flow, increasing the rate of return of migrants who have entered the EU illegally.

Joao Vale de Almeida, Europe's new Ambassador to the United Nations, told CBS News that Europe is placing a great deal of hope in the gathering, and he refutes what he views as misperceptions about its intended purpose.

European Union Ambassador to the United Nations Joao Vale de Almeida
European Union Ambassador to the United Nations Joao Vale de Almeida is seen in a file photo. AP

"This is not about us telling the Africans what they should do, this not us threatening the Africans with anything, this is about us telling the Africans -- and the Africans telling us (because they agreed to do the Summit) that we have a common problem here," Vale de Almeida said.

"We need to find common solutions because we have a common future. If there is one thing I cannot change is geography. We will be living together for the foreseeable future in this region and we need to find solutions for these problems in the region, and together with our partners."

Vale de Almeida said the issue of return and repatriation of migrants was "not the central focus of Valletta."

"It is not about asking the Africans to repatriate people or telling the Africans that we are going to return people by force," he said. "Valletta is about cooperation."

The problem, the International Organization for Migration says, is not going away: 773,000 migrants and refugees, some legal and some not, have arrived this year. The European Union estimates that 3 million additional people will arrive in the next two years.

The draft action plan identified five priorities in total: (1) Development benefits of migration, addressing the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement; (2) Legal migration and mobility; (3) International protection and asylum in cooperation with the United Nations refugee agency, the UNHCR; (4) Prevention of and fight against irregular migration, migrant smuggling and trafficking; and, (5) Making progress on return arrangements and readmission agreements.

Vale de Almeida said the problem must be viewed in the long term, but the flow of human beings must be more regulated.

He said Valletta was intended as "a starting point as much as an arriving point" in the search for a solution.

"It is the starting point of a new way of dealing with Africa about the issue of migration, maybe a more realistic way, a more responsible way, but also a way in which we want to share with the Africans the solutions to these problems," he said.

Vale de Almeida warned the danger, if African nations "don't engage themselves as well, is that we could find ourselves in a situation in which you will find very little support in Europe, very little support for any kind of migration into our territory."

"We need more people," the ambassador said, "but we have to do it in a way that is politically sustainable."

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