EU to Provide Egypt with Aid to Control Migration

An overcrowded refugee boat capsizes in the Mediterranean (Photo: CSDP/EEAS flickr.com)

The European Union will give Egypt €87 million over the course of 2024 along with new equipment for a migration management project that was initiated in 2022 and is being carried out by French Interior Ministry operator Civipol and the UN migration agency.

Following the next EU-Egypt Association Council meeting on January 23, the €87 million could rise to €110 million according to unnamed sources, as quoted by Euractiv.

Huge Money Can be Paid in Exchange to Control Migration

The EU-Egypt migration management project began in 2022 with an initial funding of €23 million, with an additional €115 million approved for 2023.

This year’s €87 million will be used to improve the Egyptian navy’s and border guards’ operational capabilities for border surveillance and maritime search and rescue missions. The border management, anti-smuggling and anti-trafficking initiatives, voluntary returns, and reintegration projects were the purposes of the funds allocated for 2022 and 2023.

“With these EU funds, the International Organization of Migration (IOM), the UN agency responsible for migration, is supporting Egyptian authorities through capacity building activities which promote rights-based border management and the respect of international law and standards, also with the regard of rescue operations,” an IOM official told Euractiv. IOM is also involved in the Egyptian authorities’ capacity building and training. It has also been confirmed by one of the sources that French operator Civipol, will be working on the tendering, producing, and delivering the new rescue boats for 2024.

According to the EU’s asylum agency’s (EUAA) 2023 migration report Egyptian nationals have applied for visas to enter EU countries at a significantly higher rate in recent years, primarily as a result of the country’s worsening internal situation.

Egypt’s Crisis is Getting Worse

Egypt, a strategic EU ally, is going through a more severe political and economic crisis, with its 107 million citizens dealing with rising unpredictability and a dearth of guarantees for their human rights.

“The situation is very bleak,” Timothy E. Kaldas, deputy director of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, told Euractiv. “With food and beverage inflation expected to reach 70% in Egypt in 2023, the currency experiencing numerous shocks and collapses that will lower Egyptians’ purchasing power,” added by the expert.

The unrest in Egypt has been exacerbated by recent events at the Gaza Strip’s Rafah crossing, hostilities in the Red Sea with Yemen’s Houthi rebels, and warfare in the neighboring Sudan.

Migration is Back at the Top of the EU Agenda

More than 350 000 entered the EU without permission in the first 11 months of 2023, according to EU border protection agency Frontex. Irregular migration only accounts for a fraction of all migration to the 27 member states, according to the EU Commission. By contrast, almost 3.5 million people migrated to the EU in 2022 as refugees with asylum status, or to pursue education or a job. In mid-December, the European Parliament and 27 member states agreed on a far-reaching reform to EU migration and asylum policy. Before it can take force, it must still be formally adopted by the member states and the EU Parliament in the first half of 2024.

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