Leaders say they want EU migrant policy to include screening before entrance into Europe.
The populist revolt that, most recently, has brought regime change to Italy is pressuring Brussels to change EU migrant policy. Leaders have come up with a plan to screen migrants before allowing them into the EU. The plan is rather vague and it requires the cooperation of other nations to host migrant centers where they can be screened. But the steps in this new direction show us that the EU leaders realize they will lose power if they don’t make changes.
The Associated Press reports, “EU leaders push ahead with plan to screen migrants in Africa.”
European Union leaders vowed Thursday to move forward with plans to screen migrants in North Africa for asylum eligibility to try to stem the flow of those making the perilous journey to the continent by sea, part of a desperate attempt to shore up EU unity on an issue that has helped fuel a political crisis.
No North African countries have agreed so far to sign on to the plan being presented at a two-day EU summit, though possible EU funding that could bring billions in aid may prove persuasive.
Italy also held up any interim agreements at the summit unless it received concrete commitments the country would get help managing the waves of newcomers that arrive from across the Mediterranean Sea.
“Italy doesn’t need any more verbal signs, but concrete deeds,” Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte said, insisting that the responsibility needed to be shared more equitably across the EU.
Based on the success of an EU-Turkey deal that outsourced responsibility for stopping migrants entering Europe to the Turkish government in exchange for refugee aid, EU leaders want to expand the idea to Africa.
The costly endeavor reflects the anxiety in Europe over migration, which has turned 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. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government also is in turmoil over her longstanding policy of welcoming refugees fleeing conflict.
Details are sketchy, but the proposed EU plan involves erecting a virtual wall in northern Africa by placing people who try to leave for Europe in centers in countries like Algeria, 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.
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