European Union Leaders Meet On Plan To Curb African Migration

European Union leaders met on Malta on Friday to endorse plans they hope can forestall a new wave of migrants sailing for Italy from Africa, but aware anarchy in Libya means any quick fix is unlikely.

British Prime Minister Theresa May was attending, despite her plan to start negotiations by next month to take the U.K. out of the EU – a reminder that Britain, along with France, is one of the bloc’s main military powers and Africa aid donors, and that Brussels must go on cooperating with London long after Brexit.

An agreement with Turkey last year halted an influx of refugees that had brought a million migrants into Germany via Greece. Now the EU has turned its attention to Italy, where a record 181,000 people arrived in 2016, most of them deemed to be seeking work and not in need of asylum.

The risks those people run in the seas around Malta after crossing the Sahara – more than 4,500 drowned last year – will be highlighted when leaders renew promises to help Africans live better without leaving home.

Popular hostility to immigration has stoked nationalist, anti-EU movements, creating a powerful incentive for leaders like Merkel, facing re-election, to appear to be in control. Read the full report here.