EU faces NEW migrant crisis: Brussels scrambles to stop huge inflow of refugees from Egypt

BRUSSELS bureaucrats are scrambling to avert a fresh migrant crisis amid fears that a massive influx of asylum seekers from Egypt is imminent.

Martin Schulz, president, European ParliamentGETTY

Martin Schulz, president, European Parliament

EU parliament chief Martin Schulz has called for an immediate deal with Cairo to close down the possibility of a sudden and massive rush for Europe.

He said Brussels should strike a similar agreement to the one it has with Turkey, where all migrants arriving in Greece are immediately sent back across the Aegean Sea.

And he threatened to pull the plug on aid funding to the impoverished North African country if it refuses to play ball and help the EU dig itself out of its migration hole.

Egypt receives billions of pounds in loans from the International Monetary Fund and is also a recipient of EU foreign aid.

Calling for a “comprehensive” migrant agreement with Egyptian leaders, he said: “This is the path we must take.”

He hailed the Turkey deal, which has brought the number of new arrivals down since it was implemented over the summer, describing it as a “model” for other countries.

And he said the accorde, brokered by German chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish president Recep Erdogan, proved that Europe could coordinate on curbing migration without “abandoning its principles.”

Mr Schulz’s comments, made in German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung today, come just two days after a boat crammed with hundreds of Egyptian refugees sank on Wednesday.

rescue workers bring bodies of migrants ashore Getty

Egyptian rescue workers bring bodies ashore at Port Rashid after the boat carrying migrants sank

More than 160 bodies have been recovered so far, according to Egyptian officials.

Ahmed Darwish, an Egyptian survivor, said: “The boat is meant to hold 200, and they put 400 in it. And this is what caused the catastrophe.”

crowds gathered at shore as victims are brought backGetty

Crowds watch as bodies are brought ashore at Port Rashid, Egypt

The boat, which sank off Burg Rashed, a coastal village on the Nile Delta, was carrying Egyptian, Sudanese, Eritrean and Somali migrants and was heading to Italy.

It was one of a number of ships smuggling people across the Mediterranean, with the Egyptian navy having stopped five boats carrying a total of 900 people in the past two weeks alone.

Authorities have arrested four suspected people traffickers over the sinking, which comes just months after the EU border agency Frontex warned that growing numbers of Europe-bound migrants were using Egypt as a departure point for the dangerous voyage.

survivors of boat which sank Getty

Survivors from the boat which was carrying hundreds of migrants

survivors of the boat which sankGetty

Survivors from the boat, at Rashid Police Station in Beheira, Egypt

“The Egyptian route is used mainly by migrants coming from Eastern African countries – Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan – and some coming from the Middle East.”

Flavio di Giacomo, an IoM spokesman in Rome

More than 3,500 migrants have died while attempting to cross the Mediterranean this year, while some 300,000 people have got into Europe by sea, according to the International Organization for Migration (IoM).

There is growing concern over people coming from Egypt, and Flavio di Giacomo, an IoM spokesman in Rome, said: “The Egyptian route is used mainly by migrants coming from Eastern African countries – Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan – and some coming from the Middle East.”

Leave a Reply

Help put the World to rights and leave a Comment

Notify of
Powered by: Wordpress
%d bloggers like this: