EU plans new migration pact

The Euroepan Commission has presented a plan for an agreement with seven Arab and African states initially: countries that can keep migrants at home will be eligible for development aid and enhanced trade ties. A total of eight billion euros are to flow into the initiative by 2020. Europe is kowtowing to corrupt elites, commentators write, and see the deal as doomed.

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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Europe making itself vulnerable to blackmail

The idea of migration partnerships is good but implementing it is likely to be problematic, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung fears:

“Migration flows can best be dealt within the countries of origin and transit. Once people have reached Europe in many cases it's extremely difficult to send them back, even if they have no right to asylum. ... The big problem is that such agreements render Europe vulnerable to political blackmail. The EU-Turkey agreement is supposed to be a model for new partnerships but Erdoğan's aggressive behaviour shows how ambivalent such agreements can be, and African potentates will hardly be any less demanding in their dealings with the EU. That's no reason not to cooperate with them at all, nevertheless Europeans are often far from the pragmatic realpolitik they need in order to reach an agreement with such people.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Carrot and stick don't work

Der Standard also has its doubts that the cooperation between the EU and the African states will come to anything:

“Conditionality - linking financial aid to a desired behaviour - has hardly ever worked as an approach to financial aid and development cooperation. Governments simply don't like to be pressured into adopting a policy they don't like. And in view of these obstacles it's also difficult to create a consensus within the Union. On the one hand the funds necessary for investments running into the billions won't be forthcoming, on the other it is unimaginable that the EU will impose duties on exports from Ethiopia if the repatriation of rejected asylum seekers doesn't work out. For that reason this new plan is doomed to the same fate as many other EU initiatives in the refugee crisis.”

Avvenire (IT) /

EU financing corrupt elites

The migration pact leaves much to be desired in financial and political terms, Avvenire complains:

“It seems like a high figure, but spread over seven states and five years its impact will be significantly reduced. In addition it remains unclear how up to 62 billion euros are supposed to be leveraged thanks to EU investments in the partner countries. ... What's more, everyone is talking about development but no one's asking about how peace, security and an acceptable level of freedom and democracy can be established. ... The EU's plan rightly excludes dubious partners like Eritrea, Sudan and Gambia - regimes that violate human rights and increase the flow of refugees. Nevertheless it remains a questionable strategy to give money to governments that are not always credible: to corrupt elites that in some cases are even responsible for people fleeing in the first place.”

L'Echo (BE) /

Picking out the best

The EU's refugee policy is entirely lacking in moral aspects, L'Echo writes in indignation:

“Europe wants to reach agreements with other Mediterranean countries along the lines of the deal with Turkey. That's efficient but don't look for the morals behind it. Europe has announced that it will use all the means at its disposal to force the countries that the refugees are fleeing to keep them at home. Don't look for the morals here either. At the same time it is reviewing its rules aimed at encouraging economic migration of the skilled workers that must be 'attracted and retained'. The countries of Africa will appreciate that, but don't look for the morals. ... Europe wants expatriates and is willing to tolerate a few refugees, but don't talk to it about 'migrants'.”