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Vol 57 No 6

Published 18th March 2016

Can't stay, can't go

The number of African migrants into Europe increases because few are deported and their home governments do not want them back

Europe and Africa are locked in a diplomatic impasse: the European Union wants to deport illegal immigrants but their governments won't take them back. December's Valletta Summit came up with no answers and the little it plans to do will be formally assessed only by January 2017. EU leaders will hold a special summit with Turkey on the migration crisis on 7 March, to firm up the details of a plan which will see them pay Ankara €3 billion (US$3.3 bn.). A full EU summit on migration will then take place on 18-19 March. After failing to persuade African governments that they should take back illegal migrants arriving on European shores, EU leaders have changed tack to 'Plan B': setting up Turkey as a buffer state to intercept would-be migrants from North Africa and the Middle East. Although the idea of making Turkey, with its questionable human rights record and its Islamist government, a migration 'gatekeeper' has its critics, this may placate some European leaders, particularly in Greece and other countries at the end of the West Balkan route.

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