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EU Support in Screening Centers for Balkans and African Migrants

by Oyinlola Isiaka on June 28, 2018

There has been a lot of conversation in the international community on the emergency migrants arriving in Europe. Recently, emergency migration talks were held in Brussels where a group of 16 countries led by Germany and Italy. The main subject of the talks was on deciding upon who should be responsible for migrants arriving in Europe, the length of care of the migrants and the degree to which the European partners can provide assistance. But, there has been a lack of consensus on how to deal with the migration challenges that challenge the EU’s border-free travel area. These concerns could undermine the bloc’s unity. Thus, this has led to the backing by several EU nations to screen North African and Balkans migrants to decide upon their eligibility for asylum.

According to the UN’s refugee agency, about 80,000 migrants will enter by sea if the current policies and initiatives continue. These predictions have fostered feared amongst the citizens of the EU. For instance, anti-migrant parties and governments have been using public fears of foreigners to gain more support. These anti-migrant groups have also already put in place initiatives. The most recent being an encouraged deal with Turkey.

“Some are trying to use the situation in Europe to create political tension and to play with fear. We must not give in. When someone has the right to protection and asylum, we should grant it,” as stated by President Emmanuel Macron.

Turkey reduced migrant arrivals by 97 percent. Since 2015, many migrants have been fleeing from war in Syria and Iraq. Thus, the EU nations are prepared to give the green light to set up migrant screening centers in Libya, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Niger, Tunisia and possibly Albania. The president of France, Emmanuel Macron gave further explanation on the screening plans.

“The method that we are going to adopt [would involve] working together vis-a-vis the countries of transit and origin outside the European Union. [He mentioned] Libya — the main jumping off point for countries bound for Europe — other African countries and the Balkans. It’s a political crisis that Europe and the European Union is mostly living today,” he stated. However, there has been no evidence indicating that any nation has formally agreed to set up screening centers.

But, there still exists many concerns and opposition. For one, the International Organization for Migration and the UNHCR have expressed concern about setting up hotspots outside of Europe. Also, it is very unclear on the cost of such efforts. So far, according to FoxNews, the EU-Turkey deal has cost more than 3 billion euros.

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