Egypt Joins Five Other States in Snubbing EU Calls for Hosting Migrant Centers
Egypt has become the sixth country from among the EU’s neighbors to reject the possibility of hosting reception centers for migrants seeking to reach the European Union.
Egypt’s rejection came on Sunday, a day after details of a new EU-wide migration deal revealed that the EU leaders hope to establish asylum seekers’ centers in countries in North Africa and the Middle East, with the Western Balkans also having been mentioned earlier as a possibility.
“EU reception facilities for migrants in Egypt would violate the laws and constitution of our country,” Egyptian Speaker of the House of Representatives Ali Abdel Aal told Germany’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper, as cited by DW.
“[Egypt] already has about 10 million refugees from Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Palestine, Sudan, Somalia and other countries,” said Aal, who is one of the authors of Egypt’s 2014 constitution.
He added that since all asylum seekers were entitled to free health care and education in Egypt, the country was at its capacity to receive more migrants, with the exception of those who arrived legally.
Leaders of three other North African countries – Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia – as well as Sub-Saharan Niger and EU hopeful Albania have already made it clear their countries would not host centers for migrants trying to make it to the EU.
In mid-June, Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU Commissioner for Migration, revealed the EU wanted to “intensify cooperation” with Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Niger, and Morocco on the migrant issue but also made it clear that no formal requests for migrant reception centers had been made.
The reception centers outside the EU were part of an EU deal that German Chancellor Angela Merkel described in a letter to coalition partners on Saturday.
Meanwhile, in their own plan released to the Spiegel magazine, Merkel’s coalition partners, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), rejected the call for reception centers outside the European Union.
In addition to the potential migrant centers in the EU’s neighborhood, Merkel’s deal also stipulates boosting the EU border agency Frontex as well as the quick return of migrants who have already been registered in another EU country.
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