A refugee pact with North Africa?

The EU Commission has welcomed plans put forward by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on cooperation with North African states, whereby migrants would be stopped and sent back along the lines of the EU-Turkey deal. Will refugees soon be sent back to war-torn Libya?

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The Independent (GB) /

Welcome witnesses of IS terror

Instead of sending refugees back to Turkey or Northern Africa, Europe should welcome them and use their horror stories as a weapon against the IS, according to the daily The Independent:

“The stories of refugees are a golden opportunity for countering extremists’ narratives. ... If supported and protected, families, defectors and refugees can offer powerful, personal testimonies against the violence of Isis. In the most networked, digital and connected generation in human history, credible voices, messengers and real stories are vital in shaping ideas. Refugees and families are an untapped source of immense emotional power and a generation that, if harboured, respected and well-treated, will be an organic resilient mass to extremist ideologies.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Now not the time to fight over details

Renzi has proposed financing the potential EU-Africa deal with Eurobonds. Rome shouldn't hold to the idea at all costs, writes Corriere della Sera:

“It's not about the Eurobonds, so popular in Italy and so detested in Germany. The debate between Rome and Berlin centres on the need to find a medium- and long-term strategy. The Renzi government's proposal boils down to the concept of giving more to get more: more concrete aid for African countries - using a logic different to that behind previous aid packages - in return for increased controls and measures to reduce the flow of migrants to the countries of departure. The cost of this must be covered, just as the costs of Merkel's deal with Turkey have to be covered - with or without Eurobonds. The ultimate goal is to stem the flow of migrants. … And on that point, namely finding a common solution, Germany and Italy will probably agree.”

Die Presse (AT) /

Mistakes in Libya costly to Europe

If so many refugees are ready to undertake the dangerous trip across the Mediterranean it's the result of the failed international mission in Libya in 2011, the conservative daily Die Presse comments:

“After the Europeans pushed through their military operation, they should above all have put their efforts into helping the inhomogeneous rebel alliance find a sustainable follow-up solution. ... But their efforts were only half-hearted. The rivalries between Libya's new leaders grew increasingly tense until the country was once more drawn into a spiral of violence in 2014. ... Stabilising Libya is a serious test for EU foreign policy. Because any additional mistakes in planning will hit Europe where it counts.”

Il Sole 24 Ore (IT) /

Rome won't just stand by and watch

With its proposal for a refugee deal with African states Italy is trying to avoid ending up in the same situation as Greece, the business daily Il Sole 24 Ore comments:

“As a pre-destined victim of the next wave of refugees Italy has no intention of being overrun by migrants or simply waiting idly until its European partners reluctantly decide to help out and take action. The Greek lesson was very instructive. As long as the partners themselves aren't affected they won't lift a finger. … And precisely because Italy doesn't want to end up in the same corner as Greece - cut off not by the Macedonian border but by the barrier at the Brenner Pass - the Renzi government is trying to revive a Europe that is caught up in a dangerous process of dissolution.”

Zeit Online (DE) /

EU needs refugee deal with Tripoli

Europe must set itself three clear objectives after the latest refugee tragedy on the Mediterranean, the web portal Zeit Online stresses:

“The first is to view Italy's coasts as Europe's coasts. It is the task and the duty of all EU member states to help protect these borders. When Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi presents proposals in Brussels as he did two days ago, he must be taken seriously and cooperated with - in all circumstances. Europe must join forces in the effort to stabilise Libya. There is now a Government of National Salvation in Tripoli. Even if it rests on shaky foundations, it's a start. Europe will be able to reach an agreement with a stable Libya, just as it did with Turkey. That wouldn't be perfect, but it's in the realm of the possible. Thirdly, the fight against the human traffickers must be stepped up. There too things are happening. And as opposed to what one often hears, this battle is far from hopeless.”

Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

EU must not make a deal with Libya

The international community must put far more effort into fighting the causes behind mass exodus, demands public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk:

“That begins with giving more resources to the Welthungerhilfe aid organisation and the UN Refugee Agency, which incomprehensibly always have to beg for money. The next step is education partnerships, investments, fair trade and sensible immigration laws. And the willingness to enforce harsh sanctions against despots, even if it messes up a few good business deals for those imposing the sanctions. When it comes to fighting the IS terrorists, military action must be among the measures. … But what is truly absurd is to dream that a refugee deal with Libya analogue to that with Turkey could be sealed in the foreseeable future. No one can be sent back to that country, either today or for a long time to come.”