Merkel says EU must work with Libya to control illegal migrants’ influx to Europe

BERLIN, GERMANY – OCTOBER 07: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Vice Chancellor and Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel arrive for the weekly government cabinet meeting on October 7, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. High on the morning’s agenda was changes to Germany’s migrants and refugees coordination structure. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday that Europe should work with Libya to control illegal migration, but cannot sign a deal similar to that reached with Turkey last year until political stability is restored in the country, Reuters reported.

According to Reuters, Merkel stressed how important it is to work with Libya as more than 4,000 migrants had died in the Mediterranean while en route from Libya to Italy.

“At the moment we cannot sign an agreement like that concluded with Turkey,” she said in a video podcast, adding that such an accord would only be possible when “the political situation has improved, when the unity government is really a unity government and has control over the entire country, and we can talk about human rights issues, standards and other issues.”

Migrants find themselves left now with Libya as the only route they can use to reach Europe after the route via Turkey then Greece has been shut down by the EU-Turkey deal.

Reuters said that a record 181,000 mainly African boat migrants reached Italy last year, taking the total number of arrivals in the past three years to more than half a million.

EU interior ministers on Thursday already pushed ahead with plans to finance camps in Africa, where the U.N. refugee agency and aid groups would process migrants to prevent them from trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, according to Reuters.

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