Italy: EU should replicate Turkey migrant deal with African nations

The agreement to curb migrant flows from Turkey to the European Union, which has attracted strong criticism from humanitarian groups, should be replicated with African nations, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said Saturday.

The EU has offered Ankara 3 billion euros (3.4 billion dollars) to accept the repatriation of migrants who land in Greece. In return, the EU has pledged to take in Syrians still in Turkey.

"Albeit agreed in an emergency situation and hence perfectible," the agreement "should not remain a one-off case," Renzi wrote in a letter to EU leaders dated Friday, published a day later on his government's website.

If that were not to happen, "we would be witnessing an imbalance in terms of resources and political capital employed in one geographical area compared to other areas that are no less important when tackling the issue of migration," the Italian premier said.

Renzi's letter presented a separate four-page "Migration Compact" in which the Italian government opened up to EU debate several ideas, including issuing EU bonds to finance the cost of the migration crisis both in Africa and Europe.

The paper suggested that the EU could offer African nations money, as well as entry quotas for workers, students and researchers, in return for them tightening border controls with the help of on-the-ground EU police missions, all "in line with international standards."

Flagging Libya as a priority, it proposed stretching the mandate of the EU naval operation in the Mediterranean, known as Eunavfor Med Sophia, to train the Libyan coastguard, and deploying another mission to advise Tripoli on police, justice, terrorism and migration matters.

Warning that the migration crisis "threatens the foundations" of the EU, Renzi said the bloc was responding with "sometimes not adequately motivated" national border closures, and a "widespread refusal to sharing the burden of this huge challenge."

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