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European External Action Service "non-paper": how can we stop migration from Egypt?
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A "non-paper" jointly produced by the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the European Commission sets out possible policies the EU could adopt towards Egypt to make "efforts on today's migration" and "to address also the roots of potential future migration."

See: European External Action Service and European Commission, Options on developing cooperation with Egypt in migration matters, undated (pdf)

After setting out the "key migratory features of Egyt"; giving an overview of EU-Egypt relations on migration issues and where current projects and proposals stand; and establishing the joint interests that both Egypt and the EU have in "strengthened bilateral engagement on migration", the paper sets out numerous possible areas of cooperation:

1. Rights-based migration governance and management, including prevention and fight against smuggling/human trafficking

Supporting Egypt with the implementation of its recent anti-trafficking and anti-smuggling legislation; potential strengthening of cooperation with EUNAVFOR MED; closer contacts between Europol and Egyptian authorities; acquiring better data on migration.

2. Cooperation with FRONTEX and Seahorse

Cooperation with Frontex "could be pursued, following a first exploratory mission by FRONTEX to Egypt on 25-27 October 2016. The conclusion of a working arrangement would formalize the cooperation between FRONTEX and Egypt."

The EU should also continue its efforts to make Egypt part of the Seahorse communications network that links border guard units on both the north and south of the Mediterranean:

"Egypt has been repeatedly invited but not yet agreed to join the Seahorse Mediterranean Network, which is currently being set up between the border and coast guards of the seven Mediterranean Member States (ES, PT, FR, IT, MT, EL, CY) to cooperate with the Libyan Coast Guard to exchange information on irregular migration and cross-border crime. The project has been prolonged recently until 2018 to allow the border and coast guards of Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt to join this network."

3. Additional support to socio-economic development and migration-prone groups and host communities, and protection of refugees (including through resettlement) and other vulnerable groups of migrants

Various programmes which could provide funding are noted, and:

"Particular attention will be continued to be paid to improving sustainable socio-economic development, notably to foster inclusive growth and job creation particularly for youth and women. In this context, the European External Investment Plan will provide for further opportunities to promote socioeconomic investment via the private sector and to address the root causes of migration."

4. Pilot initiatives on legal migration and mobility (also involving Egyptian diaspora)

"Additional projects involving the Egyptian diaspora in the EU and study opportunities under Erasmus Plus could be considered (possibly following the model of Tunisia, based on the creation of an additional window via ENI funding)."

5. Practical cooperation to foster the return of irregular migrants to Egypt

Two points are made under this heading:

"Based on EU experience on flexible return cooperation (such as Standard Operating Procedures), practical arrangements for the return of irregular Egyptian migrants from the EU could be explored with the Egyptian authorities as well as sustainable reintegration. Support to assisted voluntary return and re-integration from Egypt to countries of origin could be also envisaged, with special attention given to the promotion of long-term solutions upon return. Discussions on the possibility of returning third-country nationals to Egypt could also be considered."

And: "Possible support to the civil registry and AFIS systems of Egypt." AFIS stands for Automated Fingerprint Identification System; with regard to "civil registry" the EU is currently very keen to ensure that countries in Africa set up biometric popular registers.

6. Asylum and Regional Protection and Development Programme

7. Humanitarian assistance


"These proposals could be presented during an inter-service mission at senior officials level, led by EEAS with the participation of DG HOME and NEAR, so as to further develop the dialogue with the Egyptian authorities and explore possible avenues for a stronger and more strategic engagement on migration. Similarly these could also be explored during the upcoming planned mission of Egyptian authorities to Germany where EU has been invited.

Activities proposed will have to be pursued in the wider context of the implementation of the Partnership Priorities, in line also with COM (2016)385 establishing a new Partnership Framework with third countries under the European Agenda on Migration. The limitations on the scope of the EU cooperation with Egypt, as set out in the Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions of 21 August 2013 and 10 February 2014 will have to be duly taken into consideration.

Close cooperation between Member States, EEAS and the Commission is of paramount importance in order to achieve results, and efforts on today's migration need to be closely co ordinated with action in other areas, such as economic development, to address also the roots of potential future migration." (emphasis added)

See: European External Action Service and European Commission, Options on developing cooperation with Egypt in migration matters, undated (pdf)

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