Saturday

18th Nov 2017

EU explores new migration 'zone' in north Africa

  • Over 3,500 people died trying to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean last year (Photo: DukeUnivLibraries)

The EU’s migration commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos, is to visit Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco amid an Italian-led plan to set up migrant reception centres.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels on Thursday (12 March) after a meeting of the bloc’s 28 interior ministers, Avramopoulos said “I intend to visit Tunisia and Egypt, of course Morocco is included in my agenda, in order to create a zone in the area” to fight smuggling and irregular migration.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

His tour coincides with an Italian-led drive for the EU to create refugee reception centres in northern Africa and, possibly, in Sudan and Niger.

"It's about a humanitarian mission which would allow Europe to do screening and to dismantle a huge human trafficking market," said Italian interior minister Angelino Alfano.

The AP news agency reportsthat interior ministers from France, Germany, and Austria are keen on the idea and that Avramopoulos will also visit Vienna to flesh out details.

Italy is pressing the issue amid ever greater numbers of Mediterranean migrant crossings.

Around 220,000 people attempted the dangerous route last year, with most setting sail from war-torn Libya.

Avramopoulos earlier this month also proposed setting up special immigration attaches in EU delegations to handle asylum requests in the country of origin.

But when asked to elaborate on Thursday, he described the idea as “a long term project” and said there is no decision yet.

“It is something that we are working on right now, to see whether it is feasible and to see whether it is workable and whether it can prove itself efficient. Yes, the idea was launched, the decision was not made,” he said.

Migratory pressure has also increased in the Western Balkans, with calls for more resources to be given to the EU’s border agency Frontex.

The six Western Balkan countries registered 108,583 asylum applications last year, representing a 45 percent increase compared to 2013.

Latvia’s interior minister Rihards Kozlovskis, speaking on the behalf of the EU presidency, said the border agency needs more money and more staff.

Opinion

Facing the EU's migrant crisis

It is time for the European Union to take on the responsibility for solving the migration challenges it faces.

EU to 'capture and destroy' migrant traffickers' boats

EU leaders are to ask foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to look into setting up a defence mission that would "identify, capture and destroy vessels" potentially used by human traffickers.

MEPs point finger at Malta

The European Parliament debated shady deals and rule of law in Malta after the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, while the Commission wanted to avoid a "political fight".

MEPs ponder how to fight tax havens

After the Paradise Papers brought new revelations about tax dodging across the globe, including in the EU, the European Parliament wonders how to step up the fight.

MEPs point finger at Malta

The European Parliament debated shady deals and rule of law in Malta after the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, while the Commission wanted to avoid a "political fight".

News in Brief

  1. Bonn climate talks extend into Friday evening
  2. UK needs to move on Brexit by early December, Tusk says
  3. Puigdemont extradition decision postponed to December
  4. Ireland wants written UK guarantees to avoid hard border
  5. US did not obstruct climate talks, says German minister
  6. EU signs social declaration
  7. Puigdemont to be heard by Belgian judges
  8. Steep fall in migrants reaching EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressAntisemitism in Europe Today: Is It Still a Threat to Free and Open Society?
  2. Counter BalanceNew Report: Juncker Plan Backs Billions in Fossil Fuels and Carbon-Heavy Infrastructure
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic countries prioritise fossil fuel subsidy reform
  4. Mission of China to the EUNew era for China brings new opportunities to all
  5. ACCASmall and Medium Sized Practices Must 'Offer the Whole Package'
  6. UNICEFAhead of the African Union - EU Summit, Survey Highlights Impact of Conflict on Education
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council Calls for Closer Co-Operation on Foreign Policy
  8. Swedish EnterprisesTrilogue Negotiations - Striking the Balance Between Transparency and Efficiency
  9. Access EuropeProspects for US-EU Relations Under the Trump Administration - 28 November 2017
  10. World Vision20 November: Exchange of Views at the EP on Children Affected by the Syria Crisis
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable Growth the Nordic Way: Climate Solutions for a Sustainable Future
  12. EU2017EEHow Data Fuels Estonia's Economy

Latest News

  1. EU keeps former Soviet states at arm's length
  2. EU leaders make pledge on social issues after populist backlash
  3. EU agencies and eastern neighbours This WEEK
  4. Germany slams Dutch call for more ambitious EU climate goal
  5. Mind the gap: inequality in our cities
  6. Climate activists 'disappointed' with EU at climate talks
  7. Davis outlines UK vision on Brexit in Berlin
  8. German coalition talks in near collapse