Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Macron's displaced persons solution has merit

It seems logical - and humane, considering the number of migrants who have lost their lives or those of their relatives in the Mediterranean - to deal with the movement of people from Africa to Europe nearer the source. Sorting out the genuine refugees from economic migrants in Libya or next-door in Egypt would not only be more efficient but also cut out some of the exploitation.

So when President Macron came up with something along the same lines, I was surprised at the hostility it engendered.

"The idea is to create hotspots in Libya to avoid people taking crazy risks when they are not all eligible for asylum. We'll go to them," he said during a visit to a refugee shelter in central France on Thursday, adding the plan would be put in place "this summer".
Libya is the main launchpad for African migrants trying to reach Europe in rickety boats operated by smugglers that frequently sink.

He later slightly amended the proposal.

However, while giving an official speech later the same day, Macron said there was no question of "hotspots" in Libya. France will instead have OFPRA (Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons) "missions … on African soil, in safe countries"

Of course, what we really need is a joint EU approach. France, Italy, Greece and even Hungary should not have to struggle alone.

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