Camps, hubs, disembarkation platforms for migrants: Will this work?

What do you think about the idea of so called “disembarkation platforms” in north Africa and elsewhere to decide asylum requests before claimants get to Europe. Seems to me it is on the edge of international law and what does it solve for the EU, and what kind of reaction do you expect from the states in north? Read few comments.

Lorenzo NannettiInternational Affairs Analyst

The idea was already floated a few years ago. It has several problems.

First, a reminder: governments like in Italy (especially in Italy) have to show quick, high-profile actions in order to satisfy populist electoral base. Therefore, the idea of opening legal pathways from origin countries – which would be the correct first step to cut traffickers’ revenues and manage the flows instead of reacting to them – remains dismissed, because it would be electorally unacceptable. So they have to tell their electors that they can nonetheless avoid people crossing the med by creating safe routes directly from the North African countries (which, however, are often transit countries and not really origin countries, at least for many migrants from Subsaharan Africa)

From that comes the idea of creating hubs for evaluating refugee status and allowing passage only to those who meet requirements. Problem: what will others do? Of course, they will try to cross anyway. Just like now.

What do I mean? Those hubs make staging points there but will be “under siege” from a vast mass of applicants, most of which will be likely rejected – security implications will be heavy, and also they will be targets for extremists (maybe) and blackmail by local factions (almost assured). EU won’t get really any real result, assuming they can start, because they will be inadequate in evaluating appliers quickly enough (some processes take lots of time to find needed info), will be swamped by too many people asking to enter and won’t stop rejected migrants from asking human traffickers and smugglers to make them cross the Med.

All this regardless of actual international law concerns.

In addition, local countries will ask EU for funds – lots of them – for the upkeep and at least in Libya that will make local communities and armed groups able to blackmail EU as I said above. You’d need a real security belt which is undoable now.

In addition, it makes any talk of redistribution of migrants in Europe moot as people will just say “they can stay in North Africa”, and will still avoid any domestic talk about proper integration projects. In all, a policy that will focus on the wrong problem and still dismiss the core ones.

I’m still undecided if policymakers really thing it would work and just don’t see the issues or if they know it well but still think, as I’ve said above, that real solutions would be too expensive in electoral terms…


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