French President Emmanuel Macron said the EU’s plan to create processing centers for migrants outside Europe won’t work unless African countries are responsible for organizing them, the BBC reported.
EU leaders agreed to explore the idea at a summit this month. But during a visit to Nigeria, Macron said many African countries were worried the centers would act as a pull factor for migrants. So far no African country has agreed to host a center.
Processing centers were seen as a compromise to bridge the gap between EU leaders calling for tougher border controls and those with a softer approach to migration. The idea is that officials will be able to differentiate between people who are refugees in need of protection and those who are economic migrants.
Macron said his top priority was to discourage people from taking “crazy risks” to reach Europe. According to the International Organization for Migration, more than 1,000 people have died crossing the Mediterranean this year.
Although the number of migrants making the crossing has decreased dramatically from its peak in 2015, the need to find a solution has continued to dominate headlines.
Last month, Italy closed its ports to the rescue ship Aquarius, which had over 600 migrants on board. The move was a message to Brussels from the new populist government on EU migration policy, which stipulates that refugees must request asylum in the first country they enter.