Migration policy: is the EU making progress?
Migration was the second big topic alongside Brexit at the summit in Salzburg. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz proposed seeking a similar deal with Cairo to the one with Ankara. There was a general consensus on the need to boost the resources for Frontex. Some commentators believe the EU is on the right path. Others predict that the devil will be in the details.
Just a lake between Africa and Europe
Cooperation with Africa on migration policy is indispensable for Europe, the Wiener Zeitung explains:
“In fact there is no alternative to such a partnership - or at least none that would be worth even thinking about. ... Europe must offer close cooperation to its neighbours on the other side of the ridiculously small inland body of water known as the Mediterranean. And to the entire continent. ... There are philanthropic and moral justifications for this undertaking but it is also in Europe's best interests. The US and Africa are separated by the Atlantic and China is on the other side of the world. Compared to that the trip to Europe is just a puddle jump.”
The dozy period is over
It's simply not true that the EU is inactive on the issue of migration, Zeit Online stresses citing this example:
“At the Salzburg summit the heads of state and government explicitly backed EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker's plan to boost staff numbers at the European border agency Frontex to 10,000. This doesn't mean that 10,000 officials will be standing on Europe's borders by tomorrow. It's not even clear how the EU will finance this plan. Moreover, there are major disagreements over the competences of Frontex. ... But the EU won't neglect its outer borders out of sheer doziness anymore. It's having trouble dealing with this issue, but it's no longer ignoring it.”
The devil is in the detail
While the meeting in Salzburg did allow some agreements to be reached, their implementation will be as difficult as ever, Dnevnik points out:
“Certain details have also prevented the resolutions reached at the EU's spring summit on the so-called processing centres for refugees in the EU and reception centres in the countries of origin from being put into effect. These details include the question of the distribution of refugees in the member states, as well as the willingness of North African states to enter into such cooperation with the EU. Additional questions concern the financing of this cooperation, along with that of the border control agency Frontex, whose staff is to be increased from 1,500 to 10,000 and which is to receive new powers on the EU's outer borders.”