EU Summit Confronts Libya Migration, Trump

EU Summit Confronts Libya Migration, Trump
EU Summit Confronts Libya Migration, Trump

EU leaders sought a plan to curb mass migration from Libya at a special summit in Malta on Friday, which was overshadowed by the challenges of Brexit and US President Donald Trump.

The 28 leaders are expected to support steps, including helping the Libyan coastguard to cut the number of migrants making the dangerous sea crossing from North Africa to Italy, AFP reported.

But they will also, without British Prime Minister Theresa May, discuss the future of the bloc at a key turning point with Britain set to leave, and an increasingly difficult geopolitical situation with the new US administration.

French President Francois Hollande lashed out at Trump saying “It is unacceptable that there should be, through a certain number of statements by the president of the United States, pressure on what Europe should or should not be”, Hollande said as he arrived at the summit.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, meanwhile, said the best way for the EU to deal with a US administration that seems ambivalent to Europe is to push forward with its own plans.

“I already said that Europe has its destiny in its own hands,” Merkel told reporters as she arrived in Valletta. “That is why for me, talks about Europe are here in the foreground and not to deal with other parts of the world.”

The key issue for Europe on Friday is tackling the Libyan migration route, having already largely shut the route to Greece over the Aegean through a controversial deal with Turkey.

The leaders are expected to approve a new strategy to “break the business model” of traffickers who helped 181,000 mainly African migrants enter the EU via Libya and Italy last year.

The plan involves funding and training the Libyan coastguard to make it better able to intercept migrant boats before they reach international waters and helping neighboring countries to close routes into Libya, according to a draft statement seen by AFP.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints