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    German Navy sailors surround a boat with more than 100 migrants near the German combat supply ship 'Frankfurt am Main' during EUNAVFOR Med, also known as Operation Sophia, in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, Tuesday, March 29, 2016

    EU to Cooperate With North African Countries to Reduce Illegal Immigration

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    During a summit this summer, the European Council discussed the bloc's migration policy, agreeing on the establishment of "regional disembarkation platforms in close cooperation with relevant third countries" and controlled centers in EU member states to process asylum applications.

    European leaders plan to strengthen the borders of the union by cooperating with Turkey and North African countries.

    According to a draft statement, prepared during a summit in Brussels, the EU plans to work with transit countries on "investigating, apprehending and prosecuting smugglers and traffickers should be intensified," also urging for the creation of a joint anti-smuggling task force.

    READ MORE: Italians Feel Left Alone by Europe in Front of Migration Problem — Journo

    The draft noted that following a deal with Ankara, which cost Brussels 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion), illegal border crossings through Turkish territory have dropped by 95 percent from the peak in 2015, when over 1 million migrants, predominantly Syrians and Iraqis fleeing military conflicts in their home countries, entered Europe.

    Migrants, however, continued to use other routes through the Mediterranean Sea, sparking disapproval of the EU migration policy in many European countries.

    European countries have been experiencing a major migration crisis since 2015 due to the influx of thousands of migrants and refugees fleeing wars and poverty in the Middle East and North Africa.

     

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