The costly endeavors reflect the anxiety in Europe over migration, which is turning into a political crisis.
Brussels.- European Union leaders vowed Thursday to move forward with plans to screen migrants in northern Africa for asylum eligibility to dissuade many of them from setting out for the continent, part of a desperate attempt to shore up EU unity.
Based on the success of an EU-Turkey deal that outsourced responsibility for strengthening Europe’s borders refugees to the Turkish government in exchange for billions in refugee aid, EU leaders want to expand the idea with “regional disembarkation platforms” in Africa.
The costly endeavors reflect the anxiety in Europe over migration, which is turning into a political crisis even though the number of people reaching Europe’s shores this year has dropped substantially. A dispute over how Europe should manage migration has deepened since an anti-EU government with a strong anti-migrant streak assumed power in Italy this month.
Details about the new “platforms” are sketchy, but the plan involves erecting a virtual wall in northern Africa by placing people who try to leave for Europe in centers in countries like Algeria, German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for an EU summit at the Europa building in Brussels.
Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Niger and Tunisia. European Union funds would be used to persuade the countries to sign on, though none has signaled interest so far. Morocco’s director of migration and border surveillance, Khalid Zerouali, told The Associated Press that the kingdom isn’t interested in hosting a screening station for migrants, saying “that’s not the solution.”
Migrants sometimes use Morocco as a jumping-off point to Spain. The border chief said that so far this year, some 25,000 have been stopped. Spain has seen a surge in migrants coming across the sea this year. The absence of enthusiasm in Africa is not discouraging EU leaders. EU Council President Donald Tusk, who was chairing a 2-day leaders’ summit in Brussels, said partnering with countries outside the EU is the best approach.