Leaders of the European Union convened in Malta on Friday to discuss various things, among which was curbing the wave of migrants entering into Europe through Italy from Africa.
British Prime Minister, Theresa was also in attendance despite the Brexit situation.
The two points in which immigrants enter into Europe are Italy and Greece.
Last year the EU had an agreement with Turkey which resulted in a pause in the inflow of migrants who entered Germany through Greece from Turkey. This curbed the influx of refugees from Greece which had initially caused the entry of about a million migrants.
Europe’s concentration is now on Italy where 181,000 people reportedly arrived in 2016 alone. Migrants who entered through Italy used the Mediterranean route from Libya. The EU recognized that most of them who arrived through this route sought a working permit rather than asylum in Italy.
Also, these migrants go through great risks in order to reach the borders of Europe. In 2016 alone, more than 4,500 people drowned in the Mediterranean sea.
The EU leaders were not ignorant of the political situation in Libya when making their decision. Since the fall of Muammar Gadaffi in 2011, Libya has been unstable. Ridden with conflicts and internal divisions, the northern African country is teetering on the brink of anarchy. Hence the same agreement which the EU reached with Turkey cannot be replicated in Libya.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “Europe has its fate in its own hands … The clearer we are about how we define our role in the world, the better we can also take care of our Transatlantic relations.”
Last year the EU had a summit in Mali where an agreement was reached on Malian migrants in Europe.
The agreement has the aim of dealing with the root causes of illegal migration as well as enabling the “return from Europe of Malian migrants.”
African countries are expected to beef up their borders while the EU supplies these vulnerable countries with security forces and helping the unemployed find employment.
Failed asylum seekers will also be returned and to make this easier, some state workers will also travel to EU member states to “help determine the identity of migrants, in order to accelerate their return.”