EU leaders to push migration issue outside of Europe

Natalia Alonso
Natalia Alonso

EU leaders have endorsed on Friday (3 February) an Italian agreement signed the day before with Libya, aimed at stopping the flow of migrants into Europe through the Mediterranean Sea. Italy already on Thursday pledged money, training and equipment to help the UN-backed Libyan government curb migration in a memorandum of understanding that Libyan prime minister Fayez al-Seraj signed in Rome with Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni.

The deal, reminiscent of earlier accords to stop migration between Italy and then Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, comes amid EU efforts to stem the flow of migrants on the central Mediterranean route, which has become the main point of entry to Europe, since countries closed the Western Balkan route for migrants last year. At the summit in Malta, EU leaders also pledged more training and aid, especially to the national coast guard in the hope that they would be able to pick up migrants from the sea and take them back to Libya. Currently EU rescue missions take the saved migrants to Europe. The EU pledged that Libya's UN-backed government will receive €200 million, including funding to reinforce the coastguard. It also has become clear that EU leaders are moving toward shifting the migration crisis back to the country of origin and transit by providing more aid and refugee centres that are closer to the countries of origin.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in Valletta in her press conference that leaders have put the emphasis on partnerships with countries bordering the EU. She said the EU aims to do deals with Jordan and Lebanon, similar to the one concluded with Turkey last year in an effort to curb migration.

EU leaders also underlined the need to involve the International Organization for Migration and UNHCR in these programs for their expertise. She said however that the reform of the EU's asylum system, one of the most sensitive issues among EU countries now was not discussed, they will come back to it in March. "For refugees, it will be best to stay safe close to their countries," Merkel said, saying people should not cross illegally and put their lives in the hands of smugglers. "The EU has to tackle the root causes by creating safe havens close to the country of origin," she added.

Human rights watchdog, Oxfam International, on Friday objected that the Italian deal does not ask for human rights guarantees from the Libyan authorities. “EU leaders in Malta say they are committed to human rights and international law, but Italy has struck a dodgy deal with Libya with no safeguards for these principles," Oxfam's deputy director Natalia Alonso, said in a statement. "The fact that all EU governments have welcomed the Libya deal, which makes no attempt to increase Libya’s commitments to people’s rights whilst shutting off the route to Europe, shows their duplicity,” she added.

2700 views


More World news

Sino-Saudi alignment creates strategic opportunity for Turkey

Sino-Saudi alignment creates strategic opportunity for Turkey

Erdogan declared Turkey’s national interests as “residing in the Suez Canal, the adjacent seas, and from there extending to the Indian Ocean”

ISIS fighters penetrate Russia as migrant labor

ISIS fighters penetrate Russia as migrant labor

Russia needs a strong Central Asia to combat terrorism

Turkmen President orders to develop local airlines

Turkmen President orders to develop local airlines

Today President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov held a meeting with the country's Cabinet of Ministers, during which he reminded that he had previously ordered to develop local airlines, Turkmen government …

EU leaders sign Rome declaration and proclaim a ‘common future’

EU leaders sign Rome declaration and proclaim a ‘common future’

The 27 leaders of the European Union signed the Rome Declaration on Saturday, proclaiming, “Europe is our common future,” even as a series of crises have badly weakened efforts to unify the continent and Britain …

EU summit kicks off in Rome

EU summit kicks off in Rome

Leaders of 27 European Union countries, not including the UK, are meeting in the Italian capital to celebrate 60 years since the Treaty of Rome was signed. The countries will sign a new declaration to honour the 1957 treaty, which paved the way …

Russian jets from Kant airbase to participate in Tajik exercises

Russian jets from Kant airbase to participate in Tajik exercises

Russian Su-25SM jets from the Kyrgyz airbase Kant will take part in joint anti-terrorist exercises with Tajikistan's forces, the press service of the Central Military District reported. "Russian Su-25SM jets have been relocated …

Merkel acknowledges mistakes of the EU

Merkel acknowledges mistakes of the EU

The European Union made a lot of mistakes many times, but now it's time to correct them, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in an interview with Italian state channel. She arrived in Rome for the celebration of the 60th …

Tillerson to discuss fight against Daesh with Erdogan

Tillerson to discuss fight against Daesh with Erdogan

The agenda of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's visit to Turkey includes the meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, State Department's press service reported. The head of American …

Syrian army retakes parts of east Damascus

Syrian army retakes parts of east Damascus

The Syrian army said that its units had managed to retake all positions in eastern Damascus that had been infiltrated by opposition fighters earlier this week, lse.co.uk reports. In a statement, the army said its troops had …

Russia, Turkey, Iran Must Hold Talks to Stop Syria Violence: UN

Russia, Turkey, Iran Must Hold Talks to Stop Syria Violence: UN

Russia, Iran and Turkey need to convene more Syrian ceasefire talks as soon as possible to bring the situation on the ground under control, U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said, Reuters reported. De Mistura is …

more World news