Italy to Back Replica of EU-Turkey Migrant Deal in North Africa
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi is expected to back a proposal to replicate the widely criticised European Union migrant deal with Turkey in North Africa as migrant numbers continue to surge, primarily into Italy.
Prime Minister Draghi is expected to push for the idea of a European Union-North African migrant deal during the European Council that could see the EU pay North African countries to stop the flow of illegal migrants.
“We intend to rapidly intensify partnerships and forms of cooperation with countries of origin and transit, in particular African countries,” Draghi said. According to a report from the newspaper Il Giornale, the Italian government has considered an €8 billion (£6.87bn/$9.55bn) investment.
The deal would replicate the 2016 EU-Turkey migrant deal, which has so far seen the European Union officer Turkey €6 billion (£5.15bn/$7.17bn), as well as grant visa-free travel for Turkish citizens in the EU and fast-track talks for Turkey to become a member state.
While the European Union has given billions to Turkey, visa-free travel has so far not been granted to Turkish citizens, and membership talks are at a standstill.
In 2018, the European Court of Auditors noted that the billions had been spent incredibly inefficiently. Many of the proposed projects, including medication for migrants, were not at the standard hoped for by the EU.
Part of the deal also stated that Turkey would take back a migrant for every migrant that arrived in Europe. But as of earlier this year, Turkey had taken back just over 2,100 migrants, while the EU had resettled over 28,600.
Despite the problems and the multiple threats from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to open the border over the years, the EU committed in December to giving another €485 million (£416.52m/$579.18) to Syrians living in Turkey.
A vessel operated by the NGO Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF/Doctors Without Borders) with 410 migrants on board arrived at an Italian port Thursday afternoon after over 1,200 migrants arrived in a single day last weekend https://t.co/hl1jNQKhJj
The Italian proposal is likely to target Libya and Tunisia, the two main countries that have seen the most migrant departures in recent months.
Undersecretary of the Interior Nicola Molteni commented on the proposal, saying: “What has been done with Turkey must be done in Libya. We need an economic stabilisation plan, including the strengthening of the Coast Guard. We also think there should be joint patrols, in addition to a control of the southern border.”
In a speech to parliament, Prime Minister Draghi said that redistribution of migrants among EU member states, a policy supported by several countries along the EU’s external border, was unlikely and said the subject was “divisive”.
Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJor email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com