EU signs deal with Mali to boost return of migrants

The European Union has signed an agreement with Mali to boost the return of asylum seekers whose applications have been rejected in the first such deal with an African nation to persuade refugees to stay closer to home.

Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders, who signed on behalf of the EU, said that "only through his kind of cooperation we can tackle the problem of migration at its roots."

Officials said Monday that the agreement is an integral part of the EU's attempt to manage its biggest refugee emergency since World War II. The deal includes agreements to improve employment opportunities in Mali and cooperation with authorities to tackle human trafficking networks.

Critics have called such plans an attempt of the EU to outsource its migrant woes.