Syrian refugees receiving food assistance at a camp in Lebanon, where their applications for migration into the EU are decided. Under the EU plan, asylum applications will be decided at similarly designated ports in North Africa before migrants set out for Europe / Photo: European Commission DG ECHO

EU considering migrants’ disembarkation ports in North Africa

EU leaders are set to endorse plans to create a so-called “disembarkation scheme” under which migrants rescued at sea would be taken to sites in North Africa where their requests for asylum would be processed.

The EU is considering the creation of “disembarkation platforms” in North Africa to decide asylum applications before migrants set out for Europe, according to a draft statement that has been leaked ahead of this month’s EU summit.

Dimitris Avramapoulos, the EU Commissioner in charge of migration, said: “We have never rejected anything, but we have not so far opted for that. So, the idea is there, but it is not a very concrete proposal so far.”

The proposal is thought to be favoured by Eastern European countries like Poland and Hungary.

The President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, has also been discussing the issue with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kury, who takes up the presidency of the European Council next month and is thought to favour a clampdown on migration routes.

Mr Tajani told journalists at a press conference that if a solution is not reached, “The existence of the European Union itself will be at risk.”

EU leaders will convene on 28 and 29 June to discuss migration into the EU and how to process asylum applications, alongside other issues.

Sola Jolaoso

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