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Europe’s migrant crisis is the coloniser’s karma

5 31 247

Europe’s migrant crisis could be the make-or-break issue for the EU, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned last month, ahead of an emergency summit called by European leaders in Brussels. Subsequent talks stretched on for an unprecedented ten hours overnight as officials struggled to come to a deal on one of the most contentious issues of the decade, that has seen public opinion divided amid growing intolerance.

The final status seemed shaky. With plans for EU nations to deport migrants back to the first country they arrived in, France and Italy have already protested that the proposal should not apply to them. Proposals to build centres in North Africa to prevent migrants from journeying north have already been rejected by Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.

Europe’s migrant crisis shows little sign of improving. Migration numbers have fallen somewhat from their peak 2015 figures; less than 172,000 people crossed the Mediterranean last year, with some 728,470 applications for international protection in the EU, compared to over 300,000 crossings in 2016 and over one million applications for asylum. Death rates have also fallen, but not by enough; some 3,118 people died in marine crossings last year. Even if the sea spares them, those that make the treacherous journey take an immeasurable risk, being forced to pay extortionate amounts to smugglers, hand over their passports and avoid being discovered by European authorities.

Migrants at the EuroTunnel – Cartoon [Latuff/MiddleEastMonitor]

Before even reaching the Mediterranean, migrants face a gruelling journey to North Africa, attempting to evade scores of human traffickers, smuggling rings, slaver traders and horrific abuse, as well as trying to evade detection and deportation. Those that manage to secure........

© Middle East Monitor