Wednesday

14th Nov 2018

France, Germany, and Italy outline migrant plan

  • Mogherini with foreign ministers from the Sahel region in Africa (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

France, Germany, and Italy have called on the EU to make more use of foreign policy on the migrant crisis.

Their foreign ministers outlined their ideas in an informal paper sent to EU foreign relations chief Federica Mogherini on Monday (15 June).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The paper, seen by EUobserver, endorses Mogherini’s proposal to launch an EU military operation, EUnavfor Med, to sink migrant smugglers’ boats.

It says an EU-Africa Union summit in Malta later this year should “be used in order to enhance capacity building in support of [border] security and development” and should discuss “return and readmission issues”.

“Germany, Italy and France will … [use] our diplomatic networks to garner the support of African states”, it notes.

It says existing EU civilian missions in Mali and Niger should do more “to dismantle the criminal networks at the points of departure of migratory flows”.

It says the European Commission should consider a “dedicated financial scheme” for the Khartoum Process, an anti-people smuggler initiative in the Horn of Africa.

It calls for better EU funding for “capacity building of origin and transit countries in the field of border and migration management”.

It also says: “Dialogue with countries of origin and transit of migrants should include … issues such as readmission and integration of migrants profiting from voluntary return programmes”.

It adds that “a strengthened EU policy on legal migration … is of paramount importance”.

Historic challenge

The ministers noted in a letter to Mogherini the thousands of people coming to the EU is “a historic challenge”.

“The European Union has to show that what binds us together is not only policies and regulations, but also a most valuable set of principles and morals”, they said.

The paper comes ahead of next week’s summit.

Leaders are expected to launch EUnavfor Med, even though the mission cannot get fully under way until the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and Libya give the green light.

Leaders will also discuss a European Commission proposal to redistribute asylum seekers around the EU based on countries’ wealth.

The Franco-German-Italian paper notes: “the importance of a sound legal basis in international law for each of the three phases of the [EUnavfor Med] operation”.

But diplomatic sources told EUobserver on Wednesday that, for the time being, UNSC veto-holders China and Russia are against it.

Solidarity

Meanwhile, the commission redistribution proposal was shot down by several EU states’ interior ministers on Tuesday.

But the foreign ministers’ letter on “principles and morals” indicates France and Germany support Italy, a frontline migrant state, on greater EU solidarity.

The fact France and Italy wrote the text together also indicates relations are better than they appear.

Italy, this week, scolded France for stopping migrants on its border. The Italian interior minister called the French blockade “a punch in the face for Europe”.

The fact the paper backs "a strengthened EU policy on legal migration" is likely to be welcomed by rights campaigners.

But its focus on security is likely to renew criticism of Europe's fortress mentality.

Ministers hit impasse on migrant plans

Interior ministers remain at odds on how to implement an EU commission plan to distribute 40,000 asylum seekers across the Union.

Interview

UN calls for EU 'courage' on immigration

The UN special envoy on migration has urged EU leaders to show more “courage” in the face of growing “nationalism” in Europe.

Romania data chief defends forcing press to reveal sources

Romania's data protection authority is headed by Ancuta Gianina Opre, who in 2017 was charged with abuse of office in her previous job. Last week, she threatened a €20m fine against journalists in their effort to uncover corruption.

EU warns Romania not to abuse GDPR against press

Romania's data protection authority has threatened a €20m fine against reporters investigating high-level corruption. The European Commission has since issued a warning, telling Romanian authorities to give press exemptions when it comes to privacy rights.

News in Brief

  1. EU's Tusk is Poland's most trusted politician
  2. Finland prepares to step in for Romania on EU presidency
  3. Trump threatens tariffs on EU wine
  4. US defence chief backs Nato amid 'EU army' calls
  5. Italy defies EU deadline on changing budget
  6. Report: FBI looking into Brexiteers Farage and Banks
  7. Italian journalist unions protest 5MS 'whores' jibe
  8. Czech PM's son alleges kidnap plot against his father

Opinion

Interpol, China and the EU

China joins a long list of countries - including Russia - accused of abusing Interpol's 'Red Notice' system to harras activists and dissidents.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Knives out on all sides for draft Brexit deal
  2. Romania data chief defends forcing press to reveal sources
  3. EU to review animal welfare strategy
  4. Macron's 'European army': why is everyone talking about it?
  5. Merkel calls for 'real, true' EU army
  6. Italy defiant on budget on eve of EU deadline
  7. EU action on Hungary and Poland drowns in procedure
  8. EU unable to fully trace €1bn spent on refugees in Turkey

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us