European and Arab leaders meet, with refugees top of the agenda

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The European Union aims to hold a summit with Arab League states in Cairo to solicit help in curbing the wave of refugees from the Middle East. A deal will require a significant EU reciprocal offer as previous proposals to Arab leaders have gone nowhere.

In June, European Council President Donald Tusk proposed that EU leaders create “regional disembarkation platforms” outside the European Union, where officials could quickly differentiate between refugees in need of protection and economic migrants who would potentially face return to their countries of origin. According to Euractiv, which reported the story, the proposal is an effort to break the acute political crisis over migration and asylum that has bedeviled EU leaders since 2015.

The proposal, perhaps with modifications, is certain to be revisited at the February summit. Albania, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria are among nations that have already rejected the proposal.

Reuters reports that Egypt rejected the idea, but praised German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s intentions to improve the situation in the refugees’ homelands.

An accompanying European proposal that includes powerful financial incentives to potential regional hosts to improve the home situation might break the deadlock.

EU leaders consider centers outside bloc to process refugees (Politico Jun 2018)

EU-Arab League summit proposed for February in Egypt (EU Observer Sep 2018)

Four Arab Nations Refuse to Host EU Reception Centers for Refugees (Sputnik News Jul 2018)

Date written/update: 2018-12-31