FILE PHOTO: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker holds a news conference at the Carthage Palace in Tunis, Tunisia, October 25, 2018. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi
TUNIS (Reuters) – European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Friday that a suggestion that the European Union might try to set up migrant camps in North Africa was no longer on the agenda.
EU member states are in disagreement over how the bloc should deal with tens of thousands of migrants arriving every year in Europe, the bulk of them by sea from Turkey and North Africa.
In June, a summit of all EU leaders asked the Commission to study ways to set up “regional disembarkation platforms” in North African countries, including Tunisia, for migrants rescued by European vessels in the Mediterranean.
However, there has been little appetite in Africa and EU officials have long questioned the legality and practicality of such camps — a view underlined in Juncker’s blunt reply.
“This is no longer on the agenda and never should have been,” Juncker told a news conference in Tunis with Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed.
Reporting by Tarek Amara in Tunis and Francesco Guarascio in Brussels; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky