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Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Germany reaches an agreement with Egypt to slow the flow of illegal migrants

Germany has reached an agreement with Egypt to slow the flow of illegal migrants, according to The Associated Press. “The agreement announced Monday is part of a wider effort by Germany to work with countries to fight the causes of unchecked migration. Under the agreement, Germany will give Egypt a EUR 28 mn grant to spend on education and training programs to help people find better jobs, as well as provide more funds for Egyptians to study in Germany, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Germany said it will also help Egypt improve facilities for Syrian and other refugees in Egypt and will “work more closely” to crack down on people smugglers. Reuters also notes the agreement.

This pales in value and scope when compared to the Turkey-style agreement Germany helped broker last year, but it’s a start. We have been expecting for some months now that Germany would provide Egypt with economic assistance in exchange for stemming the flow of migrants. Egypt has been vying for such an agreement since the migration crisis intensified in Europe (background here and here and here), and we were hoping for a wider agreement as Egypt and the EU revisited the terms of their cooperation framework for 2017-2020. German Chancellor Angela Merkel had hinted at the possibility of such an agreement during her meeting with El Sisi in Cairo in March.

This comes as leaders of Germany, Italy, France, and Spain are holding a summit to discuss migration issues with the those of Chad, Niger, and Libya along with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in Paris on Monday. French President Emmanuel Macron had taken the position that the influx of migrants should be managed in Italy, with hotspots in Africa to run asylum-seeking centers. EU and African countries have come out against the idea.

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