10 October 2017
Brussels – ESI presentation on the Rome Plan for the refugee crisis in the Central Mediterranean
Lars Ludolph, Gerald Knaus, and Berta Fernández. Photo: Mikkel Barslund
Lars Ludolph, Gerald Knaus, and Berta Fernández. Photo: Mikkel Barslund

Gerald Knaus presented ESI's Rome Plan for the refugee crisis in the Central Mediterranean at a public seminar organised by the Centre for European Policy Studies.

The number of migrants entering the EU irregularly via the Central Mediterranean route has seen a constant increase over the past decade. In the first half of 2017, Italy alone received more than 80,000 irregular migrants, mainly from African countries. The vast majority of these migrants do not qualify for asylum in Italy or elsewhere in the EU. At the same time, efforts to return rejected asylum applicants to their countries of origin for readmission have been plagued with difficulties. In particular, the unwillingness of African countries to accept their citizens back has led large pools of rejected asylum seekers in the EU who are no longer welcome in their countries of origin.

The seminar considered the merits of two proposals put forward by migration experts to better manage these migration flows across the Mediterranean. First, the proposals emphasise the need to open up more legal pathways to the EU in order to provide alternatives to the perilous Central Mediterranean route. Second, they insist that a sustainable EU asylum system needs to provide stronger motivations to countries of origin to induce them to take back rejected asylum seekers.

Gerald presented concrete ideas on how these two approaches can be combined to form effective EU 'take-back' agreements with African countries.

While in Brussels, Gerald gave an interview on the issue to the Swiss newspaper Luzerner Zeitung.

Gerald and ESI senior analyst Alexandra Stiglmayer als met with Theo Francken, the Belgian State Secretary for Asylum and Migration and Administrative simplification, to present ESI's proposals.

Alexandra Stiglmayer, Theo Francken, and Gerald Knaus. Photo: ESI
Alexandra Stiglmayer, Theo Francken, and Gerald Knaus. Photo: ESI
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