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Thursday, 20 September 2018

The EU is courting Egypt for a revived incentives for immigrants plan

Is the EU going to offer Egypt incentives for illegal migrant plan? It is now increasingly clear that a faction of the EU led by European Council President Donald Tusk and Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz are pushing for some form of agreement with Egypt and other countries in North Africa to ensure there are incentives to continue stemming the flow of migrants into Europe. They once again revived this push at Wednesday’s informal meeting of 28 EU heads of state where the migration debate has taken front stage. The courtship is real, as Tusk and Kurz met with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on Sunday to discuss the issue, according to the Financial Times. The salmon-colored paper noted also that a number of EU diplomats have singing Egypt’s praises at the meeting.

At the heart of it are two factors: Europe’s failing disembarkation plan and Egypt’s success is keeping numbers of illegal migrants from its shores to Europe down. Tusk noted that the number of irregular departures from Egypt to Europe had fallen to none this year from almost 13,000 in 2016.

Adopting the Egypt model: Tusk also announced that the EU aims to hold a summit with Arab League states in February 2019 in Egypt, Reuters reports. While details of the summit were unavailable, the move will like see the EU negotiate with North African states for a Turkey-style aid for migrants agreement. The FT notes that EU officials have been visiting Morocco and Tunisia.

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