EU discusses handing Mediterranean migrant patrols to North African countries

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shutterstock.com - Kostas Koutsaftikis
A Greek Coastguard ship on patrol. A heavy duty for the Greek Coastguard is to patrol the east coast for desperate migrants and refugees trying to enter the country.

THE EU is discussing new plans to outsource immigration controls in the Mediterranean. According to a report by Britain’s Guardian newspaper, it appears that a new policy proposal to hand responsibility for immigration patrols to North African nations is under consideration.

The policy suggests that once migrants crossing the Mediterranean were picked up, they’d either be returned to the country from which they began their crossing or the country that saved them. Italy, the country that initially tabled these proposals, argues that this policy would help to reduce illegal immigration to Europe.

Also being discussed are plans to develop a system of European Union-funded refugee camps in Africa.

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Not all countries in the EU are equally enthusiastic about the proposal, with Britain opposing the policy due to worries that addressing people’s asylum claims outside of the EU would then result in dividing refugees equally amongst European Union states.

In the report it noted that more than a quarter of a million migrants were rescued by the Italian navy alone last year. Hundreds of migrants are believed to have died attempting to cross the Mediterranean in the first few months of this year alone.

Spain also has a major problem with controlling migration across a part of the Mediterranean where both continents can be seen simultaneously at many points. In southern Spain the distance easily appears easily crossable to many immigrants.

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