EU looks to Africa, Middle East to help curb migration

The European Union should offer countries in Africa and the Middle East incentives to curb migration flows and have those who do not cooperate face "consequences," the bloc's executive is set to propose on Tuesday.

The move comes as hundreds of people continue to undertake treacherous journeys towards Europe in search of protection or a better life.

After being overwhelmed by 1 million asylum seekers and migrants in 2015, the EU managed to disrupt a key migration route from Turkey to Greece by negotiating a contentious deal with Ankara that includes aid and other benefits in exchange for it stemming migrant flows.

This agreement should now "inspire cooperation with other key third countries," the European Commission will argue in a new communication, a copy of which was seen by dpa on Monday.

"Reports suggest that there are tens of thousands of migrants in Libya today, looking for ways to enter the EU," the document says. "External migratory pressure is the 'new normal'."

Italy, which has been the destination of migrants setting sail from Libya, has pushed for the EU to offer African countries money to tighten border controls, emulating the deal with Turkey.

The commission will call for the 28-country EU to negotiate so-called migration compacts with third countries that would cover issues such as development aid, trade, security and visa policy.

The commission recommends that such compacts be initially pursued with Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Libya. Eventually, the approach should be "rolled out to all countries of the Central Mediterranean route," the document says.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49
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