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Egypt refuses EU's migrant plans

July 1, 2018

Egypt and four other countries have said they will refuse to host migrants aiming for the European Union. The "reception centers" are part a broader plan to more evenly distribute asylum seekers in Europe.

Survivors from a boat that capsized sit in a police station in the port city of Rosetta, 250km north of Cairo
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/M. Elhorsy

Egypt said on Sunday that it will not build refugee camps for migrants deported from the European Union if asked. The announcement came after details of a new EU-wide migration deal revealed that bloc leaders will seek to build centers for asylum seekers in "partner countries" in the Middle East and Africa.

"EU reception facilities for migrants in Egypt would violate the laws and constitution of our country," Egyptian Speaker of the House of Representatives Ali Abdel Aal, to Germany's Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

Read more: Chancellor Angela Merkel unveils immigration plan to allies

Aal, who co-authored Egypt's 2014 constitution, said that his country "already has about 10 million refugees from Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Palestine, Sudan, Somalia and other countries," and that as all asylum seekers are entitled to free health care and education, Egypt was already at capacity. The only exception, Aal said, was migrants who arrived in the country legally.

The leaders of Albania, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria have also said they will refuse to build reception centers for migrants attempting to reach the EU.

Germany's SPD rejects reception centers

The reception centers were part of an EU deal the German Chancellor Angela Merkel described in a letter to coalition partners on Saturday. The deal also includes the rapid return of migrants who have already registered in a different EU country and the strengthening of the EU's border patrol agency Frontex.

For their own part, Merkel's coalition partners, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), released their own plan to Spiegel magazine that rejects the call for reception centers outside the European Union.

es/aw (AFP, Reuters)