EU leaders rush to Egypt to finalize €7.4B economic aid and migration agreement – POLITICO

EU leaders rush to Egypt to finalize €7.4B economic aid and migration agreement – POLITICO

The EU-Egypt deal is taking place amidst an increase in irregular migration to the bloc of wealthy countries. After a decrease in 2022, the EU has seen a rise in migrants arriving via the Mediterranean Sea in 2023 and the numbers are continuing to climb in 2024, as reported by an EU official. This deal, along with one that was signed with Tunisia last July and one set to be signed soon, aims to limit access to Libya, where migrants often become victims of human traffickers.

The €7.4 billion deal with Egypt is the most recent payout to countries on the outskirts of Europe following similar agreements with Turkey, Mauritania, and likely Morocco in the future. Furthermore, the EU has boosted resources for the border agency Frontex, which now has over 10,000 agents. Despite these efforts, right-wing and conservative EU parties are pushing for even more, with calls to increase Frontex’s staff to 30,000.

However, there is growing controversy surrounding the EU’s approach to migration. Critics point out the inconsistency in the bloc’s treatment of refugees from Ukraine compared to those coming from other regions. While the focus is on assisting Ukrainian refugees to return home once the war is over, many of those crossing the Mediterranean are seen as economic migrants, creating a different dynamic.

Critics are also concerned about the amount of money being given to autocratic leaders as part of these deals, with worries about potential misuse and lack of oversight when it comes to human rights. Last October, Tunisia denied entry to a group of EU lawmakers trying to assess the implementation of the EU-Tunis deal. Human rights organizations argue that the agreement with Tunisia has only diverted migrants towards Libya, a country known for abuses such as modern-day slavery and mistreatment of migrants by human traffickers.

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