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EU leaders meet in Malta


EU leaders meet in Malta

Photo: Crown
Photo: Crown

Topping Friday’s agenda will be one issue: irregular migration from Libya.

While Malta, the host, has proposed the EU copy the migrant deal reached with Turkey last year, Libya’s fractured government makes this unworkable. Instead, last week EU officials announced they’d fund camps in Libya to vet migrants and give recognised refugees safe passage to the EU.

But the plan has a flaw. Many of those leaving Libya’s shores are economic migrants from poor African states and are unlikely to be recognised as genuine refugees. Knowing this, these people are likely to bypass the camps and pay traffickers to transport them to EU shores instead.

More workable solutions include boosting support to the Libyan coast guard and moving the EU’s naval mission into the country’s territorial waters.

Yet the EU’s fundamental disunity on migration will complicate a more comprehensive solution. Central and Eastern European states refuse to adhere to EU migrant quotas and fears concerning national security are rising.

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Although the bloc is likely to reach some consensus at Friday’s summit, it will be just the first step in an extremely long, fraught process for the Union.

Go deeper: Libya: Moscow’s next power play? 

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