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    Enhancing the EU's Frontex Border Agency 'Won’t Be Possible' - Journalist

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    The EU is looking to secure migration agreements with northern African nations in an attempt to re-use the strategy it developed with Turkey, according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Following an EU summit in Salzburg, Merkel said that the EU-Turkey arrangement could serve as a model for working with North Africa.

    Sputnik discussed the feasibility of this as a deal with North African states with Paolo Salom, a political observer with the Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera.

    Sputnik: How workable is the EU-Turkey-like arrangement as a model for a deal with North African states to stem migration?

    Paolo Salom: Model is a good word, you can have anything you like as a model but when you turn to practical objectives, can we say that a senior arrangement could be used? We have to consider that Turkey is a different country from the North African states in the sense that Turkey has a different history, a different culture and society, and a strong government, a very old story of  good government, it was an Empire for centuries, while the North African states now cannot be seen as stable. Just look at Libya, how it’s turning into a chaotic, anarchic state, so can we do the same in North Africa? I doubt it, but it’s okay to try, but we have to be realistic and considered the situation on the ground.

    Sputnik: What’s your thoughts then regarding how likely Brussels is to secure a deal like this from North African nations? What could be expected from the meeting between Donald Tusk and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi?

    Paolo Salom: Egypt is probably the only hard state, along with Morocco. A state where the authority of the President is, as we know, without criticism. So yes, it could be reached, a deal with Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, but then we have to consider the overall relations between Europe and other countries. Europe always has set forth a paradigm in which democracy and respect for human rights are paramount when dealing with relations between the two parties. You cannot keep on criticizing a country like Egypt because of the lack of freedom and political rights and human rights, and all those opposition members sent to prison without a fair trial, and then say 'okay we struck a deal and things are going to be good'. I think it’s a very complicated situation and Europe can, of course, strike a deal but then it has to consider how it will be asked about not criticizing again this regime or other regimes, so it’s a very sharp, pointed issue.

    Sputnik: Brussels is also pushing for the enhancement of the EU border agency, which is called Frontex, to which a number of nations most hit by illegal immigration have expressed reluctance due to sovereignty concerns. What are your thoughts on this initiative? Do you agree with it?

    Paolo Salom: You see this is one of the paradoxes of how Europe is functioning. You have a European Union which is seen as a whole, and it's asked to be seen as that, and to try find means to solve problems as a unique body, a whole body. But then when they enhance instruments like Frontex and want to push for enhancing to make it stronger and deal with this migration problem, well each country says 'no, I don’t want to be pushed aside, I want to maintain my sovereignty, I want to maintain my rights to decide what to do in the areas which are under my control.' So what’s Europe then? Is it something that’s good for everybody or isn't it? This is the limit and I think it won’t be possible to enhance an agency like this that will, of course, erode the rights of control of each country involved. So the paradox is: we used to say the King is naked, then you see when this happens, the King has no clothes on, so you can see the reality of it and everybody outside of Europe can see it.

    The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker, and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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