Emmanuel Macron’s migration summit: Who wants what?
PARIS — France’s Emmanuel Macron gathered European and African leaders in Paris Monday for a summit heavily focused on migration and how to stem the numbers of people attempting to enter the EU illegally.
European countries are still at odds over how to deal with the number of migrants making the journey from North Africa to, in the most part, Italy.
With Rome calling for help and Berlin pressing neighbors to take in more refugees, the one-day summit aims to harmonize divergent positions between Europe’s “big four” and African countries, before the migrant crisis can once again overwhelm the EU agenda.
The aim is to show unity and common purpose.
The likely result? A soft consensus on the need for tighter border controls in Africa and greater economic enticements for migrants to stay home — without firm commitments for fresh investment or countries taking in more refugees.
Leaders from Germany, Italy and Spain, as well as Chad, Niger and Libya, will be joined at the French presidential palace by Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s top diplomatic official.
Central and Eastern European states, which flatly refuse to take in more refugees, will not be present.
Here’s what the major players are looking to get out of the meeting:
Emmanuel Macron — France
To put it bluntly, Macron will hope to save face and reassert his position in the migration debate. Back in July, Macron suggested that France was getting ready to install its own hot spots — processing centers for migrants — in North Africa to preempt flows into Europe, only to have his own office walk back the comments later the same day.
Libya, for one, was just too unstable to house such an initiative, presidential sources told French media; and the European Commission, which coordinates efforts on migration, had never heard of the plans. Monday’s summit is a chance to put the African hotspots idea back onto the table, and get tentative approval for it from Berlin, Rome and Madrid. Macron may brief leaders on the feasibility of African hotspots using a French-led study, Italy’s Corriere della Sera reported.
Do expect a final statement to include language on “reinforcing cooperation” with migrants’ countries of origin, and preventing migrant flows “well before they reach Libya.”
Do not expect the French president to announce that his country will be taking in thousands more refugees.
Paolo Gentiloni — Italy / Mariano Rajoy — Spain
These two states on the front line of the issue will be urging other EU countries to do more to stem the flow of migrants into Europe.
The number of migrants making the deadly trip across the Mediterranean started to drop compared to last year during the first seven months of 2017. But Italy is still struggling to cope with all the new arrivals. During a 48-hour period in June, around 12,000 immigrants arrived in Italy, overwhelming structures that exist to process and shelter them. Rome and Berlin have pledged money to Libya and other African countries to tighten border controls and start offering economic migrants more opportunities to improve their lives without making the risky trip to Europe.
“France and Spain need to do more,” an Italian official told Reuters.
The question of terrorism, and how it intersects with illegal migration from North Africa, is also high on the list of concerns for Rome and for Madrid, in light of the recent attacks in Spain. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said last week he wants to look into ways to improve coordination on counterterrorism during Monday’s meeting.
Angela Merkel — Germany
Merkel will press other EU countries to take in more refugees and shift the problem of processing migrants and controlling borders over to Africa, with plenty of financial help from Europe. Germany has taken in more than 1 million refugees since Merkel opened her country’s borders to them in 2015, versus tens of thousands for France — something she said she had no regrets about at the weekend.
Merkel’s party, the conservative CDU, argues that other EU states need to shoulder much more of the burden. It also wants the EU to strike major cash-versus-border control deals with African nations, like the one signed with Turkey back in 2016, according to the party’s manifesto. Other parties that could end up in a ruling coalition with Merkel following the national election in September have called for tougher solutions, with the left-leaning SPD saying countries that refuse to take in any migrants should face “significant disadvantages.”
With the election looming, Merkel is unlikely to make grand pronouncements on the future of migration policy. Expect her to underwrite a final statement heavily focused on bolstering African efforts to combat illegal migration — and little more.
Mahamadou Issoufou — Niger / Idriss Déby Itno — Chad / Fayez al-Sarraj — Libya
The three African leaders at the gathering will want more help from Europe to deal with migration. A Niger presidential source told Reuters that his country already hosted hot spots of the type pitched by Macron. But he said the African state could use more financial aid from the European Union to develop them and bolster security at its borders, where most migrants make the journey up toward Libya and the Mediterranean Sea. Libya will be seeking to obtain EU funds that have already been pledged — but more quickly.
Expect a final statement to feature language about developing “governmental structures” in northern Niger and Chad to allow them to “better be able to rescue individuals in peril in the desert,” as well as bolstering controls on Libya’s southern border.
Federica Mogherini — European Commission
Mogherini’s priority will be to get a grip on Europe’s highly divided debate on migration. The Commission was blindsided over the summer by Macron’s hot spot proposal. Throughout the past year, the fact that Hungary and Poland refused to take in any refugees gave the lie to any idea of European solidarity on migration — easily the most contentious political topic in the bloc along with terrorism, and the most potent fuel for populist parties. By attending Monday’s meeting in Paris, Mogherini will be putting a stamp of EU oversight on what are essentially nation-to-nation negotiations.
Click Here: Cheap Golf Golf Clubs