Expert Voices

EU proposal to process refugees outside Europe is popular but flawed

German Chancellor Angela Merke talks with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez before a meeting on migration and asylum issues on June 24, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez before a meeting on migration and asylum on June 24, 2018, in Brussels. Photo: Thierry Monasse via Getty Images

In anticipation of a full EU summit on Thursday, 16 European leaders met in Brussels on Sunday for an emergency mini-summit on migration and asylum policy — issues that have roiled the continent for years. On the agenda was a proposal to establish “disembarkation platforms” outside the EU that would process the claims of migrants rescued or intercepted at sea before reaching the bloc.

The proposal appears to be broadly palatable, both to hardliners, who want to see tougher border controls, and to those who urge respect for refugee protection principles.

Yes, but: Establishing migrant processing centers outside the bloc might be easier said than done, due to legal and ethical concerns as well as practical challenges.