Egypt refuses EU call for migrant reception centers

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.

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 Sonntagnewspaper.

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.

Merkel is currently facing one of the most serious crises in her government since the 2015 refugee influx as herInterior Minister Horst Seehofer threatens to close Germany’s borders over her protests. The pair are set to meet and discuss the new EU plan later on Sunday.

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.

Dw/es/aw (AFP, Reuters)

 

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